The Affordable Care Act’s so-called “employer mandate” requires companies with over 50 employees to provide health insurance for all employees who work 30 hours or more per week. Right-wingers have been arguing that this is hurting the job market and the Obama administration recently announced that it would be delaying implementation of the mandate for a year.
But that hasn’t stopped the attacks on the law. CNBC’s Kudlow Report had a panel on Monday evening to blast Obamacare for killing jobs. Their only problem was that one of their guests, Duquesne University adjunct professor Clint Benjamin, didn’t get the memo that the Affordable Care Act is ruining his life.
The show’s host asserted that the health care law has left him “stuck in the middle.”
Benjamin responded, “To a certain degree I am. But in the long run, I think it’s probably convenient for people to blame the Affordable Care Act.”
The host didn’t appreciate that kind of language. “Why do you say ‘blame?'” he asked. “Blame it for what?”
“Well, just the idea that the Affordable Care Act is a convenient, dare I say, scapegoat for some of the things that are going on. I’m just a humble purveyor of composition,” Benjamin said. “But the idea that some of these firms and my employer especially — I can only speak for really my employer — but the idea that maybe we could… it seems like a convenient workaround by my employer.”
“That’s crazy,” Grace Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, interrupted. “It’s much more difficult to manage two or three part-time employees than one or two full-time employees. It’s more cumbersome, much more expensive, much more training. Employers would like to have 40-hour-a-week employees. But when this law passed in 2010, they started having to figure out how they will restructure their businesses, not because it’s the right thing for their businesses, but because they’re forced to in order to continue to have any kind of margin at all that will allow them to keep their doors open.”
Slate‘s Matt Yglesias made this chart to demonstrate the hollowness of the claim that Obamacare is to blame for businesses moving more employees to part-time:
“It was part and parcel of the general economic decline that began in early 2008 and continued until the spring of 2009,” Yglesias writes.
This chart shows that fewer employees are working part-time now than when the law was passed.
(Hat Tip: @MosheMarvit)