Wages of Obamacare

The uncreative destruction wrought by Obamacare on the economy commenced before it was adopted and has continued steadily through the promulgation of the regulations implementing the Rube Goldberg contraption wryly named the Affordable Care Act. Grace-Marie Turner provides an illustrative example in her Forbes column “It’s fact, not anecdote, that Obamacare is turning us into a part-time nation.”

Obamacare’s mandate to provide the costly health insurance compliant with the law applies to employers with 50 or more full-time employees. So employers have exerted themselves to stay under the magic numbers. Turner takes a look (and recognizes that “data” is the plural form of the noun):

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the ratio of part-time to full-time jobs has completely flipped this year from historical trends. Last year, six full-time jobs were created for every one part time job. This year, only one full-time job is being created for every four new part-time jobs.

The shift to part-time has accelerated over the past several months because of the “look back” provision in ObamaCare that sets the baseline this year for the number of full-time workers a company employs to determine their compliance with the employer pay-or-play mandate.

This is only one aspect of the law’s multifaceted destructive power. Turner touches on a few others:

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.

The delivery giant, UPS, is cutting eligibility for spouses of employees who have access to health coverage elsewhere. It says that the costs the law imposes are forcing changes, citing the law’s research fee and a tax of $63 per member to help shore up the health exchanges. Other factors are the act’s ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits and its requirement to cover dependent children up to age 26, UPS said. The University of Virginia also is limiting spouse health benefits.

Forcing employers to provide health insurance that soaks up their profits or cuts into operating revenues causes a cascade of distortions. Clearly, the law already is resulting in layoffs, fewer hours, and reduced hiring. It may even force some businesses to shut down.

Obamacare is a fiasco, the consequences of which will (to borrow Churchill’s phrase) travel far with us along our road.

UPDATE: A reader writes to add another related point:

I am writing to you because for now I am employed in the health care field. What was once a sure way to a successful life is one that is leaving us (the workers) fearful of our jobs. The pool of covered patients will grow but reimbursement is shrinking. It does not take a genius to figure out that we are heading toward doing more work with less people. The quality of care will suffer and the job satisfaction of the employees will as well. This impact, specifically the employment figures, is something that should be looked at and hammered on. Krauthammer’s statement of it taking over 1/6 of our economy sure is hitting home for me.

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