Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act as it is officially known, has been held up by its supporters as a boon to working-class Americans. It was supposedly going to make health insurance, and health care, more affordable (thus the name) and easier to get.
The reality, unfortunately, is that the bill institutes big new taxes and reams of new regulations that actually make health insurance and health care more expensive and harder to get. That’s bad enough, but in addition to making health care/insurance harder, the law is also going to make it tougher for many Americans to find a job.
Many businesses plan to bring on more part-time workers next year, trim the hours of full-time employees or curtail hiring because of the new health care law, human resource firms say.
Their actions could further dampen job growth, which already is threatened by possible federal budget cutbacks resulting from the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.
“It will have a negative impact on job creation” in 2013, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.
Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses that employ at least 50 full-time workers — or the equivalent, including part-time workers — must offer health insurance to staffers who work at least 30 hours a week. Employers that don’t provide coverage must pay a $2,000-per-worker penalty, excluding the first 30 employees.
The so-called employer mandate to offer health coverage doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2014. But to determine whether employees work enough hours on average to receive benefits, employers must track their schedules for three to 12 months prior to 2014 — meaning many are restructuring payrolls now or will do so early next year.
At the beginning of his term in office, President Obama’s economic advisers predicted that because of their “stimulus” policies unemployment would be down to 5.2% by December of 2012. Obviously, we’re nowhere near that as unemployment is actually 7.8% and this observer is beginning to wonder if unemployment rates at or near 8% are going to be the “new normal” in America thanks to policies like Obamacare.