The Corner

Three Years of Obamacare: $31 Billion in Regulation Costs, 71.5 Million Hours in Compliance

President Obama’s signature health-care law, which turned three over the weekend, has already accounted for $31.3 billion in regulatory costs and liabilities, as well as 71.5 million hours of paperwork, according to a study from the American Action Forum (AAF) released Monday.

It would take more than 35,000 full-time employees working year round to fully comply with the monstrous Red Tape Tower the law has become.

Those figures have grown substantially since last year’s AAF review of Obamacare’s regulatory impact, which found that the law had imposed $12.4 billion in costs and roughly 50 million paperwork hours, indicating a sharp increase in the law’s burden on the economy as many of its chief components begin to come online.

Although the Obama administration has long argued that insurance companies would bear the brunt of costs associated with new health-care regulations, the study argues that individuals and small businesses are likely to feel the impact in some form.

Pending regulations that would mandate nutrition labeling could cost more than $750 million, impose 2.6 million paperwork hours, drive up foods prices, and cause some businesses to forgo certain food products, the study found. The administration has identified $0 in quantified economic benefits for the rule, yet has conceded that a potential consequence could be that “consumption of these foods will fall, further reducing profits for some, or all, of these establishments.” Another proposed rule would require businesses to account for the value of food served at meetings, at a cost of $1.9 billion and 8 million hours of paperwork.

The report notes that by the administration’s own estimates, Obamacare contains nearly a dozen regulations that would significantly impact small businesses, at a cost of $1.9 billion and $11.3 million hours of paperwork. The reality is almost certainly greater, and will continue to grow as more aspects of the law are implemented in the coming months. “If past is prologue, the 2014 report on ACA burdens will catalogue higher costs, more paperwork, and additional layers of red tape on the U.S. healthcare system,” the study concludes.   

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More