Obamacare Magic

For most of January, President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies have been touting the increased number of people registering for the Affordable Care Act since the government’s website has – finally – become more operable. They say it is now almost meeting earlier projections.

They haven’t, however, released the number of Americans who either lose jobs or have had their hours cut back because of the new law.

Two of the most controversial aspects of the law – at least the parts that are known as of now – are the mandate that employers who have 50 or more full-time employees offer health insurance and that employees who work 30 hours a week be considered full time.

The part of Obamacare that would make 30-hour a week mandate already has had an effect. Even though it was supposed to take effect last year, but was put off because the website malfunctioning, employers immediately began cutting back hours for thousands of employees who had been working in excess of 30 hours a week. Most are now working 29 or fewer hours per week.

And we are likely to see employers who employ more than 50 full-time workers begin to cut back as that part of the law begins to take effect.

This past week, two of West Virginia’s lawmakers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, visited Parkersburg to hear complaints and fears about the future from businesses because of Obamacare.

Manchin with two other Democrats and 11 Republicans have introduced a bill that would define a full-time employee as someone who averages 40 hours a week. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it will probably die from a lack of sunlight.

During his visit, he heard complaints from small business owners similar to the one voiced by Matt Herridge with Charton Management Inc., which owns eight Burger Kings in the Mid-Ohio Valley and the new Qdoba restaurant in Marietta. He noted it would cost more than $6,000 for each employee insured.

“If we start providing that to every single worker here, we would be out of business within a month,” Herridge told Manchin. “Most businesses like us have cut folks back to under 30 hours. What we will have to consider later this year is whether we will follow suit or not.”

Capito, who was in town for a seperate function the same day, spoke at a Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley event and heard many of the same fears and complaints.

These are the uncertainties and fears of businesses in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The same uncertainties and fears are being felt in every community in America

Obamacare has had more ailments than Carter’s has liver pills. The website to register initially didn’t work, the president’s promise that people can keep their existing plan was an empty one, and when the website was finally operable Americans were shocked at the cost of insurance in the market place.

The president wants people to believe Obamacare will do magic for health care in America. On that he is right.

It has made jobs disappear faster than a magician’s assistant in a puff of smoke.