“We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it,” said Nancy Pelosi during the debate over Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act passed, and Americans are now finding out. It’s not a pretty picture.
Take employment. “Medical device makers in Massachusetts and elsewhere are warning of potential job losses,” reports The Boston Globe, because of a 2.3-percent tax on medical devices imposed by law. Even liberal-heartthrob-turned-Massachusetts-Senator Elizabeth Warren, a supporter of the law, says repealing that tax is “essential.” (To paraphrase a cliché, if it saves one job – hers – it’s worth it.)
But the ACA’s effect on jobs goes well beyond medical device makers. Reporting on January’s employment numbers, Investor’s Business Daily notes an “apparent shift to part-time work ahead of a key Obamacare deadline.” Although more people are working in the retail sector, they are working fewer hours per person – now just a hair above 30 hours a week. “A similar trend,” IBD notes, “showed up in leisure and hospitality.”
Why? No great mystery: Under the ACA, companies with 50 full-time employees or more must provide health insurance or pay a fine. As Paul Christiansen writes in The Wall Street Journal, “thousands of small businesses across the U.S. are desperately looking for a way to escape their own fiscal cliff” through layoffs or shifting to more part-time employees. (He advises a third route: “going protean,” an approach in which a small cadre of managers sets strategy and outsources everything else – from accounting and IT to product development and manufacturing – to contractors.)