With the massively increased costs and liabilities ObamaCare thrusts upon their shoulders, it was inevitable that many businesses would look for ways out. The most obvious was to hire fewer full-time employees, replacing them with part-time positions, or simply to cut hours for existing full-time workers to below the full-time threshold. No eligible workers, no ObamaCare problem.
Some businesses have already announced their plans to do this. Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) reports on the intense outcry from leftists against Regal Cinemas and Darden Restaurants which have both gone public.
But, IBD says, it’s not just businesses. Local governments seem to be even more interested in this plan:
Yet while private companies are getting all this unwelcome and hostile attention, local governments across the country have been quietly doing exactly the same thing — cutting part-time hours specifically so they can skirt ObamaCare’s costly employer mandate, while complaining about the law in some of the harshest terms anyone has uttered in public.
The result is that part-time government workers — many of them low-income — face pay cuts that can top $3,000 a year, and yet will still be left without employer-provided benefits.
One school co-op official stated bluntly that ObamaCare “could put us all out of business or change significantly how we do business.” The Mayor of Dearborn, Michigan admitted, “If we had to provide health care and other benefits to all of our employees, the burden on the city would be tremendous.” A school association director in Indiana related, “What I’m seeing across the state is school districts, unfortunately, having to reduce the hours that they are having some of their folks work, primarily so they don’t have to worry about the (ObamaCare) penalties, or they don’t have to provide them health insurance, which would be very, very costly.”
This is not an isolated or even regional phenomenon. IBD presents multiple stories like this from all across the country from California to New Jersey.
As I wrote a few days ago, the Affordable Care Act is not so affordable. A commissioner from Birmingham, MI, echoes the sentiment: “We simply can’t afford the Affordable Care Act.”
One guilty pleasure in all of this is comes with the assumption that a majority of these teachers unions, school officials, and urban public administrators are most likely liberal, and probably supported the passage of ObamaCare passionately. Now they’re the ones pinched by their own socialism.
The laying off of workers and cutting back of workers’ hours was easily predictable. It should not surprise us. The real issue will be in how lawmakers are pushed to react. This fallout from ObamaCare is the action. The question will be in the reaction.
If the current version of ObamaCare ends up leading to a mass move to part-time workers wherever possible, this means there will probably be more uninsured workers than before—the very thing ObamaCare purported eliminate. These uninsured people will then fall under ObamaCare’s individual mandate in 2014, or else face IRS penalties. Thus if things stand as they are, ObamaCare will probably end up creating more of the class of people it intended to help, and then hurting those people instead of helping them.
This will lead to a huge outcry on the left for reform of ObamaCare. And the only option they will see will be a further socialized system which will extend health benefits to part time workers in some way. We need not try to discern the ways at this point, just know there will be some cry to include these people who were placed in such a position by the shift to part time. Conservatives will be blamed for opposing a more thoroughly socialized system to begin with. The problem will be presented as their creation and their fault, and businessmen who cut hours will be portrayed as greedy and heartless.
The leftists’ goal from day one was, of course, a single-payer system. They were happy to get the camel’s nose in the tent, and will work by increments as crises like this one arise. This will be the first test for conservatives in the ObamaCare action-reaction phenomenon.
This is where Republican lawmakers have already scared us because they so quickly dropped the language of “repeal” and went to “replace” ObamaCare. This was doublespeak intended to make Republicans sound as socially compassionate as the left purports to be. Republicans think they must speak this way now or else they may alienate voters who allegedly wanted ObamaCare. The possibility that any of these people will be fooled by a conservative’s “me too” is about as likely as Rubio’s amnesty plan automatically swaying immigrants to vote for conservatives. Why do Republicans think they can create conservative voters by acting like liberals?
But the Republican leaders done stepped in it now. They have said “replace,” and they put “replace” in their platform. “Replace” is now the terms of the debate. Within the next year or so, leftists are going to call their bluff.
We can thank Joe Biden for blaming the hard right for impeding the types of compromised legislation that Democrats and establishment Republicans can agree on. It’s time for the hard right to take advantage of this. Stand up and pressure the squishy establishment leaders. Start talking about “the Democrats and their allies in the Republican Party.” Then name names. Use your vast email and direct mail networks and machines to make these associations visible and understood in every district where it counts.
Make it clear what the reaction to things like ObamaCare ought really to be, and what Republicans must stand for firmly or else face pain in the primaries.