Public sector cutting hours due to ObamaCare, too

posted at 10:31 am on August 23, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

It’s been quite a week for ObamaCare, and we’re not even to the end of it yet.  First we find out that the White House missed half of the statutory deadlines in the bill and still has almost half of them left unaccomplished.  Next, UPS canceled spousal coverage because of the ACA, which will save it $60 million in costs, and CNBC described how employees might start petitioning their bosses to drop health insurance in order to score taxpayer-funded subsidies.  The AFL-CIO in Nevada finally discovered what a bad deal they’re getting, and Gallup confirmed that the more people know about ObamaCare, the less they like it.

Today, we find out that it’s not just the private sector that’s looking to recover ObamaCare costs at the expense of workers:

Many cash-strapped cities and counties facing the prospect of shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in new health-care costs under the Affordable Care Act are opting instead to reduce the number of hours their part-time employees work.

The decisions to cut employee hours come 16 months before employers — including state and local governments — will be required to offer health care coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week. Some local officials said the cuts are happening now either because of labor contracts that must be negotiated in advance, or because the local governments worry that employees who work at least 30 hours in the months leading up to the January 2015 implementation date would need to be included in their health-care plans.

On Tuesday, Middletown Township, New Jersey said it would reduce the hours of 25 part-time workers in order to avoid up to $775,000 in increased annual health-care costs. Earlier this month, Bee County, Tex., said it would limit its part-time workers to 24 hours per week when the new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.

Last month, department heads in Brevard County, Fla., were told to plan similar cuts in advance of the 2015 deadline. Brevard County Insurance Director Jerry Visco estimated the new mandate would cost the county $10,000 per part-time employee — or $1.38 million a year if all 138 part-time employees who work more than 30 hours a week are covered, he told Florida Today. The Brevard County libraries have already cut hours for 37 employees.

In a strange way, this proves Barack Obama prophetic.  Fourteen months ago, the President insisted that private-sector employment was “doing fine,” but that the real problem in the economy was that the public sector was cutting hours:

The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government.

As employers, it doesn’t appear that they’re getting much help from ObamaCare.  In fact, it’s making the situation worse in the part of the economy that Obama claimed needed the most help.

Not that it’s doing anything better in the private sector, either.  UPS has to cut coverage for 15,000 spouses of workers, even while Democrats insist that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” to trim $60 million in costs.  Delta Airlines estimates that their costs will rise by 50% more than UPS’:

We know that Obamacare will significantly increase the cost of individually-purchased health insurance in nearly every part of the country. But we’ve generally assumed that disruptions in the market for employer-sponsored health insurance will be less severe. In particular, large employers who self-insure should be exempt from most of Obamacare’s most onerous regulations. It turns out, however, that even America’s largest companies face higher costs due to the health law. A recently-leaked letter from Delta Air Lines to the Obama administration states that the “cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $100,000,000 next year,” much of it due to Obamacare.

Executives from several large Atlanta-based companies met with a member of the Obama administration in Atlanta in early June. There, the executives explained to the administration official how Obamacare was affecting their businesses. Robert Kight, Delta’s vice president for global human resource services and labor relations, wrote a follow-up letter to the official, detailing Delta’s concerns. Apparently, Delta then circulated the letter among its employees, who then sent it to Erick Erickson of RedState.com. The full text of the letter is appended to this article.

“Make no mistake,” writes Kight. “The costs imposed on Delta and our employees are very real and they are escalating. [Obamacare’s costs], when combined with normal medical inflation and the end of the [Early Retiree Reinsurance] program mean that the cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $100,000,000 next year.”

Customers will end up carrying that baggage, pun intended.  The airline industry’s margins can’t absorb that kind of avalanche of extra costs without either cutting staff — a neat trick in an industry that’s seen a lot of that already — or hiking fares and/or fees.  We can count that against the supposed cost savings we’re seeing as premiums escalate.  And escalate they have since Obama first came into office, at a faster rate than before:

The average employer-provided family health insurance premiums have climbed $2,976 since 2009, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation survey released this week. They’re up $3,671 compared with the year before President Obama took office. That’s despite Obama’s repeated promises that the health care reform law he championed would cut premiums by $2,500 in his first term.

And while annual premium increases have moderated over the past two years, that’s due to trends in the insurance market largely unrelated to ObamaCare, and trends the law could actually reverse.

The Kaiser survey found that the average family premium this year is $16,351, up 4% over last year, and up 22% since 2009. After adjusting for inflation, premiums climbed an average 3.2% a year in Obama’s first term, higher than the 2.7% average during President Bush’s last four years in office.

We’re still more than a year away from the enforcement of the employer mandate, thanks to the illegal waiver granted by the White House earlier this summer.  Imagine what other transformations in the labor market and in consumer prices will occur by January 2015.


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also in the news: area man becomes latest victim of obamacare layoffs.

sesquipedalian on August 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM

That’s despite Obama’s repeated promises that the health care reform law he championed would cut premiums by $2,500 in his first term.

Actually, the retard promised that it would “reduce premiums by 3000%!!”.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on August 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM

ROFL

Reap what you sow, morons, you wanted more government in your lives and more government just bent you over the desk and pulled down your pants.

Bishop on August 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM

University of VA just announced that it would no longer cover the spouses of employees. They cite it as a way to cut costs. Now what would be happening to healthcare in the next year or so that costs are suddenly important.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Be still my heart. Public chickens have come home to sh!t roost.

platypus on August 23, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Serious question. What the hell are we getting in exchange for all this turmoil and misery from Obamacare? Cuz free birth control and “kids” staying on their parents’ health insurance(assuming they’ll still have any) til the age of 26 doesn’t seem like much of a tradeoff.

Doughboy on August 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

the cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $100,000,000 next year.”

Well, Obama was right. Healthcare costs will not go up by a single dime. It will go up by a boatload of them.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Wow, who could have seen this coming?

Chris of Rights on August 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Serious question. What the hell are we getting in exchange for all this turmoil and misery from Obamacare?

Doughboy on August 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

How selfish. It isn’t about you. It is about free stuff for the women. It is about free healthcare for the illegals. You name the Demonrat special interest and you’ll find stuff in the ACA that panders to their “needs” to healthcare as a right.

If ever a law was mis-named it is this one being called the Affordable Care Act.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM

also in the news: area man becomes latest victim of obamacare layoffs.

sesquipedalian on August 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Oh no…will libs claim his replacement is also a hard right Republican in spite of the truth…again?

Chris of Rights on August 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Well, Obama was right. Healthcare costs will not go up by a single dime. It will go up by a boatload of them.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

And remember, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor….in your thoughts and prayers. But you can forget about ever seeing them again.

Doughboy on August 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM

All of this doesn’t matter to libtards and Dems. They won’t change their voting habits. Even the dead ones…

They’ll continue to blame Republican interference on keeping them from getting their obamamoney.

Free phones. Rodeo Clowns.

patman77 on August 23, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Wow, who could have seen this coming?

Chris of Rights on August 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Congress really didn’t have to pass Obamacare for us to have seen this one coming. Helen Keller could have seen this one coming.

But the Dems thought that they could have sold this one by continuous campaigning. As we near 2014 they are begining to realize that the public isn’t buying what they are selling and they are getting spooked.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 10:49 AM

If ever a law was mis-named it is this one being called the Affordable Care Act.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Lefties always name their laws the opposite of what they are. They think it’s clever. In any event, the real name is the Community Affordable Care Act. It was named by the same genius who came up with Barky’s “Winning The Future!!”.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on August 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM

It was named by the same genius who came up with Barky’s “Winning The Future!!”.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on August 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Well, that’s still better than the GOP’s “Wanna See our Laffer Curve?”

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM

I still believe that this is intentional. Although it may not have been the intent of many Congressional Democrats or much of the rank and file, it is certainly the intent of the socialist wing of the party and of the many subversive orgs that influence the party.

Their stated goal is single payer. What better way to help force it than by causing misery and crisis. Why let a good crisis go to waste, even if you have to create it?

Charlemagne on August 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Before I will take any complaining seriously, I want to know who they voted for. I suspect TPTB at Delta with their 50 million dollar a year paychecks voted for Obama. The elites always think they can dance without paying the piper. And maybe they can but the rest of us won’t be able to afford to fly on Delta Airlines anymore, so buy property in Belize now you traitors because your company is going to lose altitude fast.

vityas on August 23, 2013 at 10:58 AM

ClusterphuckCare.

BuckeyeSam on August 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Charlemagne on August 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM

A certain justice will be gained when liberal supporters of single payer find themselves being denied basic medical services due to “cost concerns” and are told to go home and die.

I will feast upon their cries of “But I’m one of YOU!” as they linger in agony.

Bishop on August 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

also in the news: area man becomes latest victim of obamacare layoffs.

sesquipedalian on August 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM

What has to do with anything low IQ communist scum and slave of the state?

mnjg on August 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Bishop on August 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

I will be right there with you reveling in their misery. Schadenfruede, it’s what’s for dinner.

Charlemagne on August 23, 2013 at 11:07 AM

I still believe that this is intentional. Although it may not have been the intent of many Congressional Democrats or much of the rank and file, it is certainly the intent of the socialist wing of the party and of the many subversive orgs that influence the party.

Their stated goal is single payer. What better way to help force it than by causing misery and crisis. Why let a good crisis go to waste, even if you have to create it?

Charlemagne on August 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Not it is not intentional… Would the communists want a fully socialized medicine as in single payer? Absolutely… However when they did not get it when they had total control of Congress (super majorities) in 2009-2010, then they are not going to pass it for a very long time if ever… They settled on the current version of Obamacare because that is all what they could get… They f***ed it up beyond belief and they f***ed themselves up in the 2010 elections in a historic defeat… So no it was not intentional, it was a stupid law written and voted for by stupid liberals led by a welfare queen agitator from inner city Chicago the most incompetent President ever who is not qualified to run a lemonade stand…

mnjg on August 23, 2013 at 11:08 AM

If ever a law was mis-named it is this one being called the Affordable Care Act.

Nah. As always, caring is free. That means to care is affordable. And Democrats are all about caring. Not results, caring.

No Truce With Kings on August 23, 2013 at 11:09 AM

It’s all on the same topic now, the US of Zimbabwe

Drudge sums all up, perfectly

‘A BRAND NEW DAY IS COMING’…

Sebelius: Pass Immigration to Boost Obamacare Enrollment…

Boehner blocks shutdown…

Tells GOP to fund gov’t…

Schadenfreude on August 23, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Charlemagne on August 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM

But, how exactly do you get single payer passed? There are no votes.

Business is not waiting until 2015 to make these changes because despite the president’s action relaxing the start date, businesses realize they can be sued for failing to meet the deadlines as imposed. The president’s waiver isn’t worth the toilet paper it is written on.

The dems are losing the senate – and the presidency over a law that will be waived on day one of the next GOP adminstration.

Zomcon JEM on August 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Serious question. What the hell are we getting in exchange for all this turmoil and misery from Obamacare? Cuz free birth control and “kids” staying on their parents’ health insurance(assuming they’ll still have any) til the age of 26 doesn’t seem like much of a tradeoff.

Doughboy on August 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

As some others have said- some of us appear to be getting shafted in order to provide health INSURANCE for those who depended on charity/emergency room care. They will now be able to get free/subsidized insurance so perhaps they won’t feel bad about being charity cases.

The will be able to routinely see a physician for preventive care. Of course since doctors want to flee this screw-up we will probably ALL end up in the emergency rooms but at least the previously uninsured will feel better.

katiejane on August 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM

And Democrats are all about caring. Not results, caring.

No Truce With Kings on August 23, 2013 at 11:09 AM

But they never care, except for their own baron-like lives.

How many Ds care for the minorities, the poor, the middle class?

How many do you know that live among those they preach ‘for’?

Socialism/communism is always for the sheeplton, never for the socialist/communists, never. They live like emperors. See the neighborhoods of NY and LA, for just two example.

I dare you to find black D congressman voted in from white districts. None. Maxine Waters and Mr.-Guam-will-tip-over will always win, only because their districts are most all black.

All the R black congressmen, however, were voted in by maj. white districts.

The race hucksters will be found out one day and I love looking forward to what will happen to them.

Schadenfreude on August 23, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Intended ‘unintended’ consequences….

Cloward / Piven + Alinsky = Obama Administration and ‘fundamental change’.

Collapse the system in order to change the system. Want single-payor / full nationalization of the healthcare industry – create a system to ‘fix’ the problems, have it fail – at the same time damaging free enterprise – and then ‘fix’ the ‘fix’ by greater government control and oversight. What’s to worry about – it’s all about ‘fairness’….

Athos on August 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM

But, how exactly do you get single payer passed? There are no votes.

Zomcon JEM on August 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM

2015…… Okay, the ACA is a complete mess. But we can’t go back to the way things worked before becuase too many people are relying on the ACA exchanges for their healthcare. The only solution is single payer because the ACA will be too big to fail.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 11:24 AM

But, how exactly do you get single payer passed? There are no votes.

Business is not waiting until 2015 to make these changes because despite the president’s action relaxing the start date, businesses realize they can be sued for failing to meet the deadlines as imposed. The president’s waiver isn’t worth the toilet paper it is written on.

The dems are losing the senate – and the presidency over a law that will be waived on day one of the next GOP adminstration.

Zomcon JEM on August 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Exactly… For the democrats to pass a single payer before the welfare queens agitator second term is over they must win the House in 2014 by a margin of at least 50 votes because some of their party members will not vote for single payer and they must have at least 60 Senators and that is assuming that all 60 democrat Senators would vote for a single payer and it is not going to happen knowing that some of their Senators are from deep red states…

It is an impossibility…

mnjg on August 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM

2015…… Okay, the ACA is a complete mess. But we can’t go back to the way things worked before becuase too many people are relying on the ACA exchanges for their healthcare. The only solution is single payer because the ACA will be too big to fail.

Happy Nomad on August 23, 2013 at 11:24 AM

For the democrats to pass a single payer before the welfare queens agitator second term is over they must win the House in 2014 by a margin of at least 50 votes because some of their party members will not vote for single payer and they must have at least 60 Senators and that is assuming that all 60 democrat Senators would vote for a single payer and it is not going to happen knowing that some of their Senators are from deep red states…

It is an impossibility…

mnjg on August 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM

This was NOT intentional, folks. It was stupidity.

This is NOT in the law, it is in a rule adopted by HHS. The law says employers must offer coverage to all full-time employees. The geniuses at HHS who decided to define a “full-time employee” as one working 30 hours thought they were being clever. Liberals have maintained for years that employers (namely, Walmart) were “getting away with” limiting most workers to 30-35 hours a week in order to deny them health coverage as part-time employees, and they thought this rule would fix that. They were too stupid to understand that instead employers would just cut everyone’s hours to 29 and continue to avoid offering them coverage.

rockmom on August 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM

This is NOT in the law, it is in a rule adopted by HHS. The law says employers must offer coverage to all full-time employees. The geniuses at HHS who decided to define a “full-time employee” as one working 30 hours thought they were being clever. Liberals have maintained for years that employers (namely, Walmart) were “getting away with” limiting most workers to 30-35 hours a week in order to deny them health coverage as part-time employees, and they thought this rule would fix that. They were too stupid to understand that instead employers would just cut everyone’s hours to 29 and continue to avoid offering them coverage.

rockmom on August 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Many on our side confuse the stupidity of liberals with supreme intelligence… They think that liberals are so smart and even when they f*** up they meant to f*** up because they are planning for bigger f*** ups…

mnjg on August 23, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Stupid Obama voters getting what they deserve…

PatriotRider on August 23, 2013 at 11:44 AM

I will feast upon their cries of “But I’m one of YOU!” as they linger in agony.

Bishop on August 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

I read lib blogs pretty regularly and I’m starting, just starting, to see some comments that express some “concern” about Obamacare and how it needs to be “fixed”. I don’t argue with them much about it…yet. Just biding my time. For now, I am content to quote to them a little Churchill:

You feed the crocodile, hoping it will eat you last, but eat you it will.

If nothing else, I’m going to have a grand old time when Obamacare starts biting them in the @ss.

lynncgb on August 23, 2013 at 11:46 AM

also in the news: area man becomes latest victim of obamacare layoffs.

sesquipedalian on August 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Where in your link does it say he was “laid off”? It only says that Scott left the company.

When O’bama quit his “job” as a US Senator to run for President, was he “fired” too? Or was he “laid off”?

F-

Del Dolemonte on August 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM

This is NOT in the law, it is in a rule adopted by HHS. The law says employers must offer coverage to all full-time employees. The geniuses at HHS who decided to define a “full-time employee” as one working 30 hours thought they were being clever. ….
rockmom on August 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM

I actually don’t understand how this definition got thru. In the govt they use the term “full time equivalent FTE”

They add up the hours worked by part time workers to see what that equals in terms of full time employment. Thus 2 or 3 part time workerscould be counted as one full FTE. So the large companies would be employing enough part time employees to reach the threshold calling for insurance. Seems like someone at HHS slipped up.

katiejane on August 23, 2013 at 12:02 PM

No worries. If Barry stays true to form, he’ll extend the ObamaCare exemptions through the 2016 elections.

Wouldn’t want to piss off the voters as The Chosen One pushes Hillary! as the newest savior of the country.

GarandFan on August 23, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Affirmative action in action!!!!!

jukin3 on August 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Heh. I was just informed of a Utah State (Environmental Quality) job that is not to exceed 29 hours/week. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence…

batter on August 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Low-information perfesser and squid: “It’s all because of greedy companies that want more and more filthy profits. What? Non-profits and educational institutions doing it too? Nevermind. Have to go make dinner.”

slickwillie2001 on August 23, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Hey, when you’re purposely trying to emplode the American way of life, 1/6th of the economy is going to be a good start!

NickelAndDime on August 23, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Public sector cutting hours due to ObamaCare, too

Ssssssssssssssssssooooooo, if you collapse the job creation in the private sector, and cripple the companies that drive it (greed, etc.) then have your supporters in the media start clamoring for the GOVERNMENT to “DO MORE”. Does this mean people then become dependent on just the Federal gods to give them a job?

Jobs, housing, college, food for the weekend for your kids in their backpacks, healthcare, what else can we beg for from our government masters?

PappyD61 on August 23, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Ed-
this is happening in our home state as well. The city of Faribault, a bastion of liberalism and strong union town, announced last month it was cutting hours ahead of Obamacare.

And the local paper, the Faribault Daily News, is reliably left of center and the editor is a proud liberal, so there can’t be claim of bias against the administration.

thuljunior on August 23, 2013 at 1:17 PM

To a liberal, “single payer” means “not me”.

To a conservative “single payer” means ” jeebus, now I gotta pay that too for all those liberal!”

can_con on August 23, 2013 at 1:18 PM

From a political point of view, the goal is control of health insurance costs, better coverage, etc. Because the goals were stated it was assumed, by proponents, that they would be achieved. What was ignored was the incentives created in the legislation, some or many of which likely are conflicting and/or at cross-purposes, and the devil, as always, has been in the details.

Russ808 on August 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM

New Steyn…

Obamacare: Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

Resist We Much on August 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM