EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

October 6, 2013

Column: 'Obamacare' is sickening the workplace

Democrats landed on earth to nurture working Americans. How ironic, then, that “Obamacare” is hammering U.S. laborers. From terminated coverage to truncated schedules, the Democrats’ reputed constituency is paying dearly for President Barack Obama’s massive, $2.6 trillion health-care “reform.”

“If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period,” Obama infamously claimed while peddling the Affordable Care Act. “No one will take it away. No matter what.” These words will trail Obama for life, just as “Read my lips: No new taxes” will mock Daddy Bush forever.

Companies -- major and minor -- have dropped workers from their health plans and dumped them into Obamacare’s exchanges, which sputtered to life Tuesday.

As The Weekly Standard’s Ben Schachter reports, the insurer for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Dramatists Guild, and the Graphic Arts Guild announced: “All individual and/or Sole Proprietor Health Insurance will terminate Jan. 1, 2014.”

“Provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act are projected to add $7.3 million to the cost of the University (of Virginia) health plan in 2014 alone,” UVA Today reported. “Starting Jan. 1, spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer will no longer be eligible for coverage under U.Va.’s plan.”

The 81-store Wegmans grocery chain will stop insuring employees who work 20 to 30 hours a week.

Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane stated that employees who work fewer than 30 hours per week will receive a stipend and best wishes next year as they enter Obamacare’s exchanges. “We believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe’s and the tax credits available under the ACA,” Bane wrote his staffers, “many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you.”

To save some $60 million annually, UPS will stop covering 15,000 spouses of nonunion employees with access to insurance elsewhere. Higher medical expenses, “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,” a UPS memo explained.

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