It seems that every week or so, we discover a new casualty of the Obama administration’s healthcare law, known more popularly as Obamacare. Every week, there’s new evidence that the suite of healthcare laws is hurting or outright destroying portions of the industry, and indeed the nation, that it claims to be protecting.
The latest development in America’s march toward socialized medicine is a veritable landslide of claims from across the country from employees that have had their hours drastically cut and their health benefits packages gutted. This isn’t isolated to a particular industry, either; this is happening in a tragically diverse selection of industries.
There is overwhelming anecdotal evidence of this alarming trend, but let’s take a look at something a little more empirical. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data indicating that the ratio of full- to part-time jobs has essentially flipped this year, as compared to years past. Just one year ago, there were about six full-time jobs for every part-time job. This year, there is only one full-time job for every four part-time jobs.
Employers both large and small are beginning to feel the pressure that Obama’s health care law has caused in a variety of industries. The best known of the law’s many provisions is the employer mandate, which states that any business that employs 50 or more people must provide health care to those employees. Businesses that do not or cannot comply can face fines of up to $3,000 per year for each uninsured employee.
In order to cope with the penalties, employers such as Loren Goodridge (owner of 21 Subway restaurants) and St. Petersburg College have had to dramatically cut the hours of their employees.
Employees of Goodridge’s sandwich shops have seen their hours reduced to just 29 per week, which falls below the cutoff for full-time employment in many establishments. St. Petersburg College also has reduced the hours of 250 of its employers, confirming that they cannot afford to provide them with heath care.
Joseph Hansen, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, has added his voice to the many now decrying the employer mandate. Those in his camp originally backed the President’s legislation but have come to realize the danger that it represents not only for their industry, but for every other industry as well. Hansen confirms that the health care law will have a “tremendous impact as workers have their hours… and incomes reduced.”
If the president of a labor union has turned his back on Obama’s unpopular law, it’s safe to say there’s cause for alarm.
This is only the latest example of how the Obama administration continues to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. In their exalted march toward what was billed as a fair, affordable, and universal health care system, they seem to have been largely ignorant of the larger repercussions that will last much longer than President Obama’s two terms in office. While there’s no denying the scope or severity of the collateral damage of this healthcare legislation, there’s also no way to tell just where it’s going to end.
Consider an eerily similar and basically perennial cause championed by the left: the minimum wage. There is quite simply no version of this country in which every employee in every position of employment can be paid a so-called “living wage” – not without significant blowback. By demanding that employers raise the wage of their employees to the proposed $10 per hour, the government will be guaranteeing layoffs and decreased hours on an unprecedented scale.
Further increases in the minimum wage, along with the employer mandate in Obamacare, are going to be devastating to a wide range of industries, causing employers to cut hours and lay off employees to account for the increased payroll burdens (a fact that seems to elude many in Washington.) Even worse, many left-wing voters seem to be willing to gladly follow their favored politicians into oblivion.
The minimum wage debate and the Obamacare debacle-in-progress confirm for good and all how fond the current administration is of leaping before they look. Frankly, both initiatives reek of pandering; after all, nobody really wants to vote against higher wages and “free” healthcare, right? The public was pulled in by the administration’s fairy tale version of the United States where the government can quite suddenly legislate equality into being.
Thankfully, most of America is beginning to realize that the fairy tale we were sold – once in 2008 and once in 2012 – was a lie.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath