NBC: Yes, employers are cutting hours to avoid ObamaCare

posted at 10:41 am on August 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

No surprise here for Hot Air readers, but perhaps NBC News viewers experienced some shock to hear the results of the perverse incentives of the Affordable Care Act.  Long after the trends toward part-time work developed, NBC confirms that employers are indeed looking to avoid the costly mandates of ObamaCare by transforming their staffs into part-time workers:

Employers around the country, from fast-food franchises to colleges, have told NBC News that they will be cutting workers’ hours below 30 a week because they can’t afford to offer the health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“To tell somebody that you’ve got to decrease their hours because of a law passed in Washington is very frustrating to me,” said Loren Goodridge, who owns 21 Subway franchises, including a restaurant in Kennebunk. “I know the impact I’m having on some of my employees.”

Goodridge said he’s cutting the hours of 50 workers to no more than 29 a week so he won’t trigger the provision in the new health care law that requires employers to offer coverage to employees who work 30 hours or more per week. The provision takes effect in 16 months.

Actually, the law puts it into effect in just four-plus months.  The only reason it’s 16 months is that the Obama administration insists it can just ignore statutes, even those it pushed through Congress.  The courts may have something to say about that, but either way, businesses aren’t waiting around for the enforcement effort to start.

The White House pushed back, calling NBC’s report “anecdotal”:

The White House dismisses such examples as “anecdotal.” Jason Furman, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, said, “We are seeing no systematic evidence that the Affordable Care Act is having an adverse impact on job growth or the number of hours employees are working. … [S]ince the ACA became law, nearly 90 percent of the gain in employment has been in full-time positions.”

Since the beginning of the year, though, that number has flipped entirely.  In the first six months of the year, 97% of net job growth has come from part-time positions, according to the former head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That comes from businesses reacting to the approach of the mandate, whether that’s in four months or 16.  Businesses plan for jobs and costs on a year-to-year basis, so it should be no surprise that hiring in 2010 and 2011 would have disregarded the implications of the ACA.  Starting in 2012, though, businesses had to start taking the costs associated with ObamaCare more seriously, and this reaction is the rational result of those incentives.

Speaking of incentives, guess which full-time workers don’t want ObamaCare?  The same ones whose unions pushed it in 2009 and 2010:

new survey of 2,500 federal employees and retirees found that 92.3 percent believe federal workers should keep their current health insurance and not be forced into ObamaCare.  Only 2.9 percent say they should become part of the new health insurance exchanges.

I suspect a similar percentage of private sector employees would also like to keep their coverage, but most won’t get that option.  What I’d like to know is how many of those federal employees so eager to avoid ObamaCare themselves supported forcing everyone else in it.

There’s more.  The survey, conducted byFedSmith.com, “an information portal for sources of information impacting the federal community and those interested in the Federal Government’s activities,” found that 96.1 percent think federal retirees should be able to stay with their retirement health insurance.  Only 3.9 percent think they should get “Medicare in lieu of their current option.”

To put it simply: Federal employees and retires almost unanimously prefer to stay in their generous taxpayer-funded health insurance program, known as the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP), rather than being dumped into liberalism’s two greatest monuments to government-run health insurance, ObamaCare and Medicare.

Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

It does prompt questions about who works for whom in this republic.


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