My Personal Experience: Obamacare Just Made My Job Situation Even Worse

January 2, 2014

Obamacare shirtA few weeks ago, I had to take a minimum-wage seasonal job (which, the job market still being what it is, is now my minimum-wage non-seasonal job).  This week, my co-workers and I learned that we’re all going to be cut to part time, to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

The new law will require my employer to provide health insurance for any employees who work more than 29 hours a week.  Employers who can’t afford to pay more money for the same amount of work will instead have to cut employees’ hours.  Our former, mutually beneficial arrangements with our employer will now be against the law.

Maybe I’ll find more remunerative work someday, but what if some of my co-workers won’t?  I suppose they’ll drive around to two or three jobs (if they can find another job in this market) to cobble together a full-time work week, wasting a significant amount of time driving and money on gas.  It’s unfortunate, because they already had a good employer willing to give them forty hours a week and more (time-and-a-half paid overtime was common these last few weeks) in one convenient location.

I’m sure supporters of the Affordable Care Act had the best of intentions and were really trying to help uninsured poor like me.  It’s understandable if people didn’t fully understand the law and all of the consequences it would have.  It’s thousands of pages long.  The members of Congress who passed it didn’t understand it.  The president says he didn’t understand it.  I guess the more complicated and sweeping a policy proposal is, the more likely it is to have unintended consequences.

 

You can already hear the counterarguments:

“That’s the greedy corporations’ fault, not the government’s!  We wouldn’t have this problem if the corporations would just provide health insurance like they’re supposed to.”

or

“The president suspended the employer mandate until 2015, your employer is lying to you!”

Neither of those arguments would be true or fair.  The liberal Washington Post reported back in August that local and state governments (no evil profit motive) were already cutting their employees’ hours for the same reason:

The decisions to cut employee hours come 16 months before employers — including state and local governments — will be required to offer health-care coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week. Some local officials said the cuts are happening now either because of labor contracts that must be negotiated in advance, or because the local governments worry that employees who work at least 30 hours in the months leading up to the January 2015 implementation date would need to be included in their health-care plans.

. . .

“It’s not something we prefer to do, but the cost of health insurance is significant and would really impact municipal budgets,” said Anthony Mercantante, Middletown’s township administrator. “It’s not something we can take on, particularly when we don’t know some of the other ramifications of the Affordable Care Act. There are far more questions than answers right now.”

Middletown spends about $9 million a year, out of its $65 million budget, on employee health policies, Mercantante said.

Again, to provide health insurance rather than cut hours, the employers would have to start paying more money for the same amount of work.

I wouldn’t agree that the employers are all evil and greedy, but I would agree that businesses will generally do what they can to maximize their revenues and minimize their costs.  However, that’s not a counterargument (“We would be fine if these darn corporations would stop being so stingy!”); the architects of the Affordable Care Act already knew that businesses behaved like that before they wrote the law.  That’s why the law tries to require employers to provide health insurance, rather than leave it to their generosity to do so on their own.  People who explicitly try to engineer the incentives for employers should perhaps not be surprised when the employers respond rationally to those incentives.

For want of anything better to do, I’ve designed some T-shirts.  They say that people are most persuaded by personal stories; maybe you can buy a T-shirt as a gift for someone you know who lost his job (or got his hours cut, or lost his health-insurance plan) because of Obamacare, and he’ll wear it and so share his story with Obamacare supporters who see him, and it will make them think.

See my full selection of shirts against Obamacare at the preceding link for Cafe Press, or at the following link for Zazzle: shirts against the Affordable Care Act.  (In fact all nine designs, using both terms, are available at both.)  They even come in illustrated, non-illustrated, gentle, and more confrontational varieties.  The gentle (labeled “non-pugnacious”) ones call it the Affordable Care Act, to avoid needlessly pushing buttons that would get in the way of communicating with Obamacare supporters, and limit their wording to a simple declaration of the wearer’s personal experience, the better to persuade those who don’t already agree with us.

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12 Responses to “My Personal Experience: Obamacare Just Made My Job Situation Even Worse”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your current situation. It is true; there are winners and losers under Obamacare. I’m hopeful that the law achieves far more good than bad in the long run, but I suppose that remains to be seen. As far as your economic situation, I would strongly encourage you to use your two most valuable assets (your intellect and your Ohio law license) to your advantage. I would take a couple of simple steps to try to generate your own clients and gain valuable experience. (1) Get on all of the criminal
    appointment lists for the Hamilton County Municipal Court and surrounding counties. (2) Create a legal website that is linked to a legal blog that you run (which will help with search engine optimization (3) send out an email to all of your friends/coworkers telling them that you rad opening a solo practice. I recently left my job at a firm and am taking all of those steps and others to help generate revenue, and in the long run I have no doubt it will be successful. Our economy is still designed to aware entrepreneurial
    risk taking, and in many cases it will. Good luck.

    Ps. Don’t feel obligated to post this; just some friendly advice.

  2. Tevyeh Says:

    Have you considered trying your luck in greener (if colder) pastures? I know you’re more rooted in the Cincinnati area than I was, but the most recent data on North Dakota puts its unemployment rate at 2.6%. They’re not all roughneck jobs, you know. The rapidly expanding economy and exploding population are resulting in some interesting legal issues, if I’ve heard correctly (though don’t ask me for details!)

    Food for thought!


    • Honestly, I was just talking with a fourth classmate of ours (call him, er, Calvin?) after church today about that, and about you. I have to admit, a certain northern state (whose name is an anagram of “O OK, darn that”) is sounding increasingly appealing to me.

      For the record, I would love to have a “roughneck job” at this point (if I were physically qualified for such work).

      • Tevyeh Says:

        Calvin…Calvin…classmate of ours…help me out here. By “classmate” do you mean a member of our graduating class? If so, I’m stumped. Otherwise, I think I’ve got him narrowed down to a few candidates…

        Thrilled to hear you’re thinking about trying your luck up in the Great Northern Waste! If you need a base camp for interviewing and/or apartment hunting, let me know. I don’t have a guest room, but I’ve got the most comfortable couch I’ve ever owned.


  3. […] “My Personal Experience: Obamacare Just Made My Job Situation Even Worse” […]

  4. Matt Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about how the ACA has impacted your job. Those are some terrific shirts, though.


  5. […] to our efforts to reach people with personal stories they can relate to, please enjoy and consider sharing this short video by the Becket Fund for […]

  6. Stoutcat Says:

    So sorry about your plight. I’m buying a tee shirt right now. Hope it helps, even if it’s just a little.


  7. […] Democrats pushed Obamacare through, and it made employers afraid to hire,* reduced many of those who had jobs to part-time hours,** and significantly increased health-care spending (as even the Obama administration eventually […]


  8. […] Last night, for example, Obama emphasized that he and the Wisconsin Democrat both support raising the minimum wage—i.e., making more low-wage jobs illegal, taking jobs from those who need them most (such as me less than a year ago). […]


  9. […] concerned about the consequences that Obamacare inflicted on real people, when Obamacare reduced people like me to part-time employment or […]


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