Please read my post about “Pinned – for now” first.
Andrew Johnson of National Review has has found “100 Unintended Consequences of Obamacare.”
So far, we have listed 50 unintended consequences. Here are the last 50.
51. Tredyffrin-Easttown School District, Pennsylvania In June, the district announced that it would have to “restructure hours” to avoid cost increases to health-insurance plans. A local newspaper detailed a handful of options for the district; almost all resulted in fewer hours for lower pay.
53. Zionsville Community Schools, Indiana One hundred instructional aides, coaches, and substitute teachers in the Indiana district saw their weekly workload restricted to 29 hours.
54. Spartanburg Community College, South Carolina Adjunct faculty members taught more than half of the community college’s classes, and all but 23 of the 400 to 500 such faculty members will see their hours slashed to meet the part-time requirement. Otherwise the college would face the choice of paying penalties of up to $2,000 per employee to whom it didn’t offer health coverage or paying up to $1 million for insurance.
55. Finger Lakes Community College, New York The upstate New York community college has set the maximum weekly work hours for adjunct faculty members at “under 30.”
56. Mount Ephraim School District, New Jersey At a school-board meeting this year, the district announced that the cost of benefits will rise by 18 percent because of the Affordable Care Act, and the increase will be passed on to taxpayers.
57. Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk School District, Wisconsin The northern Wisconsin school district took steps to ensure that its part-time employees work fewer than 30 hours per week, a local news station reported.
58. Rock Valley College, Illinois As of July, the two-year Rockford school now hires new employees to work a maximum of 25 hours per week.
59. Teamsters, UFCW, and UNITE HERE The heads of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and UNITE HERE wrote to Democratic lawmakers in July to warn that Obamacare would “destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the middle class.” While the labor leaders acknowledged their past support for the law, they remarked that their decision had “come back to haunt us.”
60. AFL-CIO In an interview with Al Jazeera America, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka conceded that the Affordable Care Act “does need some modifications to it” because companies are “restricting their workforce to give workers 29 and a half hours so they don’t have to provide them health care.”
Restaurants and the Food Industry
61. Cheesecake Factory The chain restaurant’s CEO warned that while his company already covers its employees who work at least 25 hours, he expects the new law to “be very costly” for most companies. He predicted that if Cheesecake Factory has to expand coverage, the costs will be passed on to consumers with price increases or a lower level of service.
62. Papa John’s Pizza After causing a stir among Obamacare supporters by suggesting possible price increases and/or cuts to jobs and hours, Papa John’s Pizza CEO reiterated: “It’s common sense. That’s what I call lose-lose.”
63. Buca di Beppo Buca di Beppo employees across the country say managers told them in June that they would see their weekly hours reduced to less than 30. The founder of the company that owns the restaurants distanced himself from the comments, but employees insist that the Affordable Care Act is the root cause: “I guarantee you it has to do with what’s going on with our country and decisions being made with Obamacare,” said one worker.
64. Fatburger The CEO of the burger-joint chain announced that franchises have begun making efforts to keep employees under the 30-hour threshold, including some franchises’ engaging in “job sharing.” For example, an employee at one Fatburger could work 25 hours a week at one location, and another 25 hours at a different location with a different owner, without falling under the Obamacare mandate.
65. Wendy’s An Omaha Wendy’s franchisee alerted almost 100 non-management workers that their hours would be reduced to 28 per week in order to comply with Obamacare mandates.
66. Subway restaurants, Illinois Employees at 15 Subway restaurants in central Illinois have begun to see a reduction in their hours. “We don’t like doing that,” the owner said. “But if we were to have to pay for everyone to have health insurance or pay the full penalties, we would be out of business.”
67. Subway restaurants, Maine The owner of 21 Subway franchises in Maine told 50 of his workers that their hours would be reduced to a maximum of 29 a week. “To tell somebody that you’ve got to decrease their hours because of a law passed in Washington is very frustrating to me,” he told NBC News Investigations.
68. PoFolks restaurant, Alabama The restaurant’s owner told a local news station that he will have to cut the number of full-time employees from 16 workers to four to meet the “great challenge” Obamacare poses to the company.
69. Joe Bologna’s, Kentucky In order to limit employees’ hours and save money, a Lexington businessman has closed his restaurant on Mondays. He told a local news station that additional costs, which could be as high as $20,000, probably would have to be passed on to customers.
70. Five Guys franchises, North Carolina The owner of eight Five Guys franchises in the Raleigh-Durham area said he will have to use all the profits from one of his eight stores just to cover “any added costs [that] are going to have to be passed on” by the health-care act.
71. Charco Broiler, Colorado The Fort Collins restaurant informed three full-time employees that they would drop down to part-time work to keep the company under the 50-employee threshold, above which employers must insure all full-time employees.
72. Shari’s restaurant, Oregon A Portland-area waitress told a news station that she has struggled to pay her bills after Shari’s relegated her status to part time due to one of the law’s mandates, cutting her schedule by almost ten hours a week.
73. Russ’ Restaurants, Michigan Non-managerial employees are no longer allowed to work more than 25 hours per week.
74. Burger King, Washington, D.C. “I’m not sure if Congress understood the devastating effect that this will have on businesses and on employment,” said a human-resources officer for the Maryland-based company that owns Washington, D.C.’s largest Burger King franchise. From the beginning of this year, the company has hired only part-time employees, who are “guaranteed no more than 29 hours per week.”
75. Taco Bell, Oklahoma No employees at the Guthrie Taco Bell will be allowed to work more than 28 hours a week, resulting in a $200 reduction in one employee’s paycheck. “Several of the other people I work with, some of them are single parents, and we do the best we can, and 28 hours a week just isn’t going to cut it for the bills,” the worker said.
76. A Virginia Beach restaurant, Virginia The owner of a Virginia Beach restaurant and catering company told Bloomberg that he has stopped hiring people to work full time and is even drawing back on part-time employees’ hours. “I can’t afford health insurance for everyone,” he said.
The San Antonio restaurant chain might be required to pay as much as $1 million more annually after Obamacare takes effect. In response, Jim’s, like many other companies, is considering a reduction in employees’ hours so it won’t have to provide them with insurance.
78. CiCi’s Pizza restaurants, Texas Bob Westbrook owned the state’s three top-performing CiCi’s Pizza franchises but calculated that the costs of providing health care under the employer mandate would leave him about $78,000 in the red at the end of the year. Ultimately, Westbrook figured, it was most cost-effective for him to sell his franchises, after nearly 20 years.
79. Whole Foods Market The CEO of Whole Foods may not know exactly what changes will take place when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, but he’s sure it will negatively affect workers. While he would like his company to continue offering health insurance to its employees, he said there might have to be a tradeoff in the benefits equation: “That just means there’s less we can pay for wages.”
80. Trader Joe’s Even though it has previously provided health-care coverage for its part-time employees, an uncommon practice in the industry, next year Trader Joe’s will give employees who work less than 30 hours a week $500 to purchase a plan in the upcoming Obamacare exchanges. With federal subsidies and possible earnings from other employment, the company said, workers can find coverage that will be just as good. One employee described her soon-to-be lost coverage as “one of the best parts about the job,” and her reaction to hearing it would be dumped was “pure panic, followed quickly by anger.”
81. Wegmans The New York–based grocery chain announced in July that part-time employees will no longer receive health-care coverage due to Obamacare. Wegmans previously offered insurance to part-time employees working at least 20 hours a week.
82. Trig’s Supermarkets, Wisconsin Sixty-five percent of the 1,100 workers at the Wisconsin supermarket chain will see their hours reduced to below 30 per week. “Doing nothing was not an option,” an executive with the company said. “Within a year, it would have put us out of business.”
83. Waldbaum’s, New York At least one of the New York City–area supermarket chain’s stores has told employees that they will now be part-time workers, with some seeing a reduction of 20 hours or more from their usual weekly total. Some of Waldbaum’s 100 employees affected by the change are now seeking second or third jobs, according to a local newspaper.
84. Royal Farms, Maryland The company’s 146 convenience stores in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are transitioning to an almost entirely part-time work force, reducing even full-timers to fewer than 30 hours a week.
Small Local Businesses
85. Southern Hearth & Patio, Tennessee Health-insurance costs have more than tripled under the Obama presidency, said the owner of Southern Hearth & Patio in Chattanooga. He’s had to offer smaller bonuses and lower pay raises because of the Affordable Care Act.
86. Tsunami Surf Shop, North Carolina and South Carolina A manager for Tsunami Surf Shop told a local news station that the company will “have to control the shifts” from now on in order to ensure that employees are working fewer than 30 hours a week.
87. Kerns Trucking, North Carolina The family-owned trucking company had to cut insurance benefits for 81 workers to avoid having to pay an additional $100,000 under the law’s tax.
88. AAA Parking, Georgia Next year, AAA Parking will move half of its 500 full-time hourly employees (out of a work force of 1,600) to part-time employment. “Our executive team has spent extensive time evaluating the impact of this mandate, and the financial impact for AAA Parking is dramatic,” a company memo explained.
89. Circle K gas station, Georgia An employee at the Savannah gas station told a local news station that a supervisor informed workers that they would now work a part-time schedule due to the mandate.
90. Maritz Research, Missouri The business-research firm informed its 300 employees in July that, starting next year, the company would have to “proactively manage average hours worked on a weekly basis” and enforce a 25-hour threshold.
Premium Rate Increases
91. California Individual-market premiums in the Golden State could jump as much as 146 percent, according to an analysis of the state’s exchange program by Avik Roy of National Review and Forbes. For example, the cost for a nonsmoking 25-year-old in California who purchases the second-cheapest plan on the exchange would go from $92 to $205.
92. Colorado Colorado’s cheapest health plans, which are generally geared toward younger people, are expected to rise dramatically in price next year, according to The Hill. Consider a nonsmoker under 30 years old. This year, this Coloradan could have purchased the cheapest catastrophic plan for $56 per month; next year, the cost is expected to climb to $135.
93. Florida Florida regulators say the average premium for individuals will increase by 30 to 40 percent. For small businesses, the rates will be between 5 and 20 percent higher.
94. Massachusetts According to a study by the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, well over half of the state’s small businesses will see a rate increase, with some prices potentially doubling.
95. New Mexico In a study conducted by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, by a team including our own Avik Roy, New Mexico was rated the state that would see the largest average hike in premium costs, at 130 percent.
96. Ohio The cost of the average health-care plan in Ohio is expected to nearly double under Obamacare, according to state insurance regulators. The Hill reports that an 88 percent increase will ultimately mean the cheapest plan on the market after the law goes into effect next year will cost about $280 a month.
97. Oklahoma In all but one of the insurance plans offered to Oklahoma state employees, premiums will go up by as much as 12 percent; the one plan that does not have an increase is the “cheapest, most basic health plan,” according to The Oklahoman. According to an administrator with the state’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services, a tax associated with Obamacare has led to an increase in the plans’ cost.
98. Rhode Island According to the state’s health-insurance commissioner, the rate increase for large employers for 2014 will be about 10 to 12 percent, twice as high as the increase this year.
99. Washington The analysis by Avik Roy and the Manhattan Institute indicates that Washington State residents across all age groups will see significant increases in their rates. Twenty-year-olds will see an average increase of 80 percent; 40-year-olds 50 percent; and 64-year-olds 59 percent.
100 Wisconsin The state’s health-insurance regulators determined that “premiums will increase for most consumers” in Wisconsin when the law goes into effect in 2014. Young residents will see an estimated 125 percent increase, while seniors will pay as much as 45 percent more.
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review.