Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt believes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – “ObamaCare” – can be considered the law of unintended consequences.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt believes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – “ObamaCare” – can be considered the law of unintended consequences.

“If it worked as the architects intended, then the result would have been good,” he said during a meeting with business leaders Tuesday at the Independence Chamber of Commerce. “But if a third of the things don’t happen, then the results are not going to be good.”

Blunt spoke to almost a dozen community leaders about the link between the health care act and the economy as well as how they can best prepare for the new rules and regulations that will start to be implemented in January. A portion of the law did go into affect in 2010 and August 2012. This largely had to do with a number of free, preventive services that will now be offered as well as allowing dependents to be covered on their parent’s health insurance up to age 26.

Signed into law in 2010, the goal of the affordable health care act is to get more people to purchase health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the law in the summer of 2012, saying that despite opposing arguments, the act - particularly the individual mandate to have health insurance - is constitutional.

The idea behind the law is to make it not only easier, but more affordable for people without employer-offered health care to purchase insurance in the marketplace. It was estimated that in 2010, 14 percent of people in Missouri had no health insurance and little access to affordable health care.

However, Blunt said because of hundreds of pages of rules and regulations for businesses that have been created since last fall, he is afraid that many employers will opt to not offer healthcare coverage because the law is too difficult to understand.

Individuals that do not have insurance by 2014 will be required to pay a fee. Employers with more than 50 employees that do not provide minimal coverage will also be subjected to a fee. In addition, if the employer does not provide the type of insurance that the federal government deems sufficient, an additional fee will be assessed.

“This law is complicated,” he sad. “What they didn’t anticipate is that people are pretty smart. They are going to figure out what is in their own best interest.”

Blunt said another unintended side effect is that many businesses, especially in the restaurant industry, are replacing full-time employees with part-time workers. Under the new law, businesses are not required to provide health insurance to employees who work less than 30 hours a week. Blunt pointed to examples in Chicago as well as Virginia that are looking for the most advantageous ways to abide by the law.

“It is not just businesses, but state and local governments who are trying to figure out how to manipulate the law,” he said. “This will only work if everyone has insurance. I think the fundamentals (in how the law works) are wrong.”