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.
In a Market Watch article titled “Why your boss is dumping your wife,” Jen Wieczner observes: “Next year, 12 percent of employers plan to exclude spouses, up from 4 percent this year, according to a recent Towers Watson survey.” Ball State University and pump-maker Flowserve are among those now hurling spouses overboard.
Home Depot will subject some 20,000 part-timers to Obamacare. As spokesman Stephen Holmes told The Daily Caller, “Unfortunately, the ACA precludes us from offering the limited liability medical plan we’ve been offering the part-time associates.”
“Obamacare is going to kill off small business,” Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus warned last April. “Obamacare is the capper. That’s the bullet to the temple.”
Securitas, America’s largest supplier of security guards, will ditch its low-cost coverage and direct 55,000 of its employees into Obamacare, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Roughly 160,000 Walgreens drug-store employees will be driven into private insurance exchanges, Bloomberg.com reported last month.
“We are hearing from our members who are concerned about what is happening with their companies,” Janna Pea of America’s Retail Wholesale and Department Stores Union told The Guardian, London’s leading left-wing daily. “Not only are they looking at having their health-care coverage cut, they are also looking at less hours.”
Indeed, Investors Business Daily’s Jed Graham documents 313 employers who have cut workers’ hours, outsourced their positions, or simply eliminated them outright. So far -- because assigning staffers to 30 or fewer hours spares employers from new penalties for not providing insurance -- at least 30,377 Americans are working shorter shifts (if any), thanks to Obamacare.
So, Obama’s original lies notwithstanding, if you like your health plan, Obamacare can crush it. And if you like your full-time job, Obamacare can turn you into a part-timer -- or just unemploy you.
Obamacare swiftly is becoming the biggest bait-and-switch in American history.
Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.