ObamaCare is poised to “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.” And that’s the president’s supporters talking.
The dire warning came last month in a letter from three of the nation’s most influential union bosses to Democratic leaders in Congress.
“The unintended consequences of the ACA [Affordable Care Act] are severe,” the labor leaders bemoaned. “Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios.”
Specifically, they noted, “the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.”
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The White House maintains that such concerns, originally raised by analysts at The Heritage Foundation and elsewhere before ObamaCare was signed into law, are purely chimerical.
Those news reports of employers cutting workers’ hours to escape the ObamaCare mandate? Not to worry, the administration says soothingly, it’s merely “anecdotal.”
Yet anecdotal reports are becoming increasingly frequent—indicating that a wave of reductions in workers’ hours may well be in the offing.
For example, reporters from NBC recently interviewed nearly 20 employers around the country, from fast-food franchises to colleges, and found that “almost all said that because of the new law they’d be cutting back hours for some employees.”
This is just the latest piece of evidence indicating that ObamaCare is unfair, unaffordable and unworkable. Consider some other recent news items:
- Far from “bending the cost curve down,” consumers in many states will find coverage offered through the ObamaCare insurance exchanges stick them with average premium prices next year that are 30% or 40% higher than what they would have paid last year.
- The federal government’s new “data hub” that the state insurance exchanges will use to screen applicants won’t be fully functional in time. Thus, the exchanges won’t be able to verify some applicant’s incomes when determining how big a subsidy they get. They also won’t be able to verify if the applicant has employer coverage, and thus is ineligible for subsidies.
- The federal government may also be unprepared to protect ObamaCare’s information technology system from hackers and identity thieves. Security testing is months behind schedule, Reuters reports. Writing in The Weekly Standard, former HHS General Counsel Michael Astrue warned that "unless delayed and fixed" the ObamaCare exchanges will "inflict on the public the most widespread violation of the Privacy Act in our history."
The problems with ObamaCare are very significant, very widespread, and very real. The president can remain in denial if he wants, but the stakes are too high for Congress to bury its collective head in the sand. With an ObamaCare “train wreck” heading down the track it is still not too late for Congressmen and Senators who originally voted for ObamaCare three years ago to now repent and repeal.
Edmund F. Haislmaier is a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies.