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ACA Employer Mandate: What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Wanted to bring attention to a new report on the potentially harmful implications of the Employer Mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  For those that are not familiar with the Employer Mandate – it is a provision of the ACA that essentially requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance to those employees or face a penalty.  Due to intense pressure from the business community, the Obama Administration has postponed this provision multiple times, and the Employer Mandate will not go into effect until January 2015 or January 2016 (depending on the size of the business).  Now there is hope that this dangerous piece of the ACA is dismissed altogether.  A new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (which you can read here by clicking on Employer Mandate Report) posits that the Employer Mandate will not raise the number of insured Americans significantly but it will cause a major disruption in the American workforce.

The case study for that disruption occurs right here in Illinois.  The Employer Mandate considers any employee working more than 30 hours a week as full-time (a mere 6 hours a day on a normal 5 day workweek).  Many part-time employees who previously worked over that 30 hour threshold have seen their hours cut as not to be considered full-time under the ACA.  This is primarily seen in the retail and food industries where many employers are unable financially to provide health insurance for their workers and do not wish to be penalized.  Since 2011, Illinois lost the equivalent of 66,000 jobs in the retail, food, and general merchandise sector due to reduced employee hours (per the Illinois Policy Institute: read their full report here by clicking on Work hours have dropped since ObamaCare signed into law).

These are the very real damages incurred by the Employer Mandate provision of Obamacare.  Waitresses who survive on tips are losing an extra shift a week.  The single parent is no longer allowed to pick up overtime hours at a mall clothing store to buy presents for the holidays.  Throughout Illinois, workers are having to supplement their loss of income by working more part-time jobs.  Employers are spending resources on multiple low-skill employees rather than rewarding standout individuals with higher wages and increased status.  As more reports and studies illuminate the hazards of the Employer Mandate, there will undoubtedly be increased pressure on the leadership in Washington to eliminate the provision altogether.  Let’s hope they listen!

Credit to Naomi Lopez Baumann over at the Illinois Policy Institute for bringing attention to these reports: read more of her stuff here.