Fact Check: Reuters Contradicts WH Obamacare Claims, Leaves a Mark

Posted: Aug 22, 2013 10:27 AM
Fact Check: Reuters Contradicts WH Obamacare Claims, Leaves a Mark

What was the White House saying about Obamacare, part-time and temporary jobs, and "anecdotal evidence," just the other day?  Here's a refresher:

The White House dismisses such examples as "anecdotal." Jason Furman, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, said, “We are seeing no systematic evidence that the Affordable Care Act is having an adverse impact on job growth or the number of hours employees are working. … [S]ince the ACA became law, nearly 90 percent of the gain in employment has been in full-time positions.” 

I've already debunked this argument using Gallup's poll of business owners and raw statistics from the former Bureau of Labor Statistics chief; now Reuters adds another relevant data point into the mix:

Faltering economic growth at home and abroad and concern that President Barack Obama's signature health care law will drive up business costs are behind the wariness about taking on full-time staff, executives at staffing and payroll firms say. Employers say part-timers offer them flexibility. If the economy picks up, they can quickly offer full-time work. If orders dry up, they know costs are under control. It also helps them to curb costs they might face under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Executives at several staffing firms told Reuters that the law, which requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide healthcare coverage or incur penalties, was a frequently cited factor in requests for part-time workers. A decision to delay the mandate until 2015 has not made much of a difference in hiring decisions, they added.

Even more meaningless anecdotes?  Meanwhile, UPS has made an Obamacare-induced business decision that will negatively impact at least 15,000 of their employees' families: 

United Parcel Service Inc. plans to remove thousands of spouses from its medical plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere. The Atlanta-based logistics company points to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as a big reason for the decision, reports Kaiser Health News.  The decision comes as many analysts are downplaying the Affordable Care Act's effect on companies such as UPS, noting that the move reflects a long-term trend of shrinking corporate medical benefits, Kaiser Health News reports. But UPS repeatedly cites Obamacare to explain the decision, adding fuel to the debate over whether it erodes traditional employer coverage, Kaiser says. Rising medical costs, “combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost,” UPS said in a memo to employees.

"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."  Except when you can't.  Explicitly because of this law.  Due to the havoc Obamacare is wreaking, some employees may actually start begging their employers not to offer affordable, reliable health coverage.  What's driving this bizarre development?  Perverse incentives and legislative malpractice, that's what -- via CNBC:

Just imagine saying this to your boss: "Don't offer me health insurance benefits."  Those apparently bizarre words might actually end up being uttered next year because of a quirk in Obamacare that could financially penalize a number of workers and their families. That quirk means that for some people, it will be more economical to have an employer not offer health insurance subsidies for them and their families—and for the entire family to then instead be able to buy insurance with government subsidies on the Obamacare state health exchanges.

We've covered two elements of this "quirk" in the past.  (1) In their haste to pass their bill, Democrats created a harmful loophole wherein a "covered" employee's family is hung out to dry and ineligible for affordable healthcare either through the private sector or the government.  (2) We're now seeing cases where low-wage workers are being offered "affordable" coverage at work, even though those rates are still out of reach for them in reality.  Then, because they've been offered government-approved coverage through their employer, those workers are rendered ineligible to receive any government subsidies.  Unable to purchase costly insurance through either method, these individuals (and/or their families) will become or stay uninsured, and will be forced to pay the Obamacare tax as a result.  It's a terrible catch-22.  So if employers accede to the coming requests to drop health coverage, the result will be a glut of people entering the exchanges.  This is bad news, three times over.  First, many exchanges will not be ready on time and will have data security issues.  An avalanche of enrollees will only worsen logistical problems from coast to coast.  Second, more people reliant on subsidies equals more money.  That money comes from taxpayers and from borrowing.  The law's already-unaffordable price tag will soar, adding to even more to long-term deficits.  Third, this is a raw deal and a breach of trust for the many workers and families who were promised they could keep their existing healthcare arrangement. 

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