President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also well-known as Obamacare, won’t be fully implemented until next year, but the healthcare reform legislation is already causing a strain on the United States economy, according to recent reports.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released projections on how much the program will fully cost (see here), but perhaps some of the truly devastating result will be its effect on jobs. Since the Obamacare employer mandate requires all employers with 50 or more employees to purchase insurance, business owners will simply let go full-time staff members and replace them with part-time workers.
At the time of this writing, there are approximately eight million Americans working in part-time jobs. However, with the full implementation of Obamacare, economists predict that number to skyrocket in the coming years. Over the past two years, a lot of companies have warned that they will have to scale back the number of employees, hours and shifts as well as other perform other company functions, such as raise prices and cease expansions.
Businesses involved in the fast-food sector are already taking actions. This part of the economy employs millions of Americans and is one of the fastest-growing job markets, but not for full-time hours. It was reported in October that Darden Restaurants, owners of Olive Gardens, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, will stop offering full-time schedules to many of its workers.
Of course, since part-time jobs are not included in the unemployment rate, this could reduce the jobless figure and help the current and future administrations look like they’re improving the economy. The reason why it would help the number is because businesses would hire two workers for 20 hours of work each instead of one worker performing 40 hours of work.
Many proponents of Obamacare have suggested that legislators should close any loopholes that would prompt private companies to stop cutting hours, firing employees and only offering part-time hours (25 to 30 hours).
Forbes cited a study by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin which estimated that up to 40 million workers could lose their employer coverage “due to perverse incentives.” The CBO even admitted that after a decade of Obamacare close to 30 million Americans would remain uninsured, the exact opposite of what the president intended.
Since Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius can declare several “free” requirements, this will lead to higher premiums by insurers, mostly for younger and healthier individuals. This means, according to an Investors Business Daily article by Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, the policy will cause premiums to increase substantially for various small businesses and people.
Essentially, more employees are going to lose their current coverage. Indeed, this is not something that will only happen in a few years, but it’s transpiring right now. Heritage provided a list of instances to show companies, organizations and groups are already dropping medical coverage.
Furthermore, it was discovered earlier this year that Obamacare is causing health insurers to raise premiums across the country in several states by double digits. This means it could hurt small businesses and employees who do not have employer-provided insurance plans.
Insurance companies make the case that the costs are going up and they have to serve a larger share of the general population (seniors, the sick, etc.). Also, abiding by the new regulations and benefit requirements (as well as future ones) has become rather costly.
In the end, Obamacare will lead to three negative consequences: no expansions in coverage, more burdens on a drained healthcare system and an increase in costs.
“Today we should remember that virtually everything government does is a ‘mandate.’ The issue is not whether Congress can compel commerce by forcing you to buy insurance, or simply compel you to pay a tax if you don’t,” said then-Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul in a statement last summer. “The issue is that this compulsion implies the use of government force against those who refuse. The fundamental hallmark of a free society should be the rejection of force. In a free society, therefore, individuals could opt out of ’Obamacare’ without paying a government tribute.”
Question: what are the true costs of the $6.2 trillion being added to the budget deficit by Obamacare over the next several decades? Answer: No work.