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August 2, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Consider effects of hour reductions

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More and more companies are cutting part-time employees’ hours to less than 30 hours per week to avoid Obamacare. Their justification and press releases blame the outrageous costs that resulted from Obamacare. The companies are not telling the truth and are desperately trying to hide behind the real reason they are cutting hours, which is the cost of an employee versus a contractor. If everyone is cut to less than 30 hours, they will all fall into a contractor category.

Contractors are not eligible for health care coverage, paid vacations, paid holidays, overtime, sick leave, participation in 401(k) plan or retirement benefits. There will have to be some new hires to cover for the lack of hours on everyone’s part. That is only after corporations try to get as much work in 30 hours as they used to get in 40 hours out of each employee. The unemployment rate will go down, and everyone’s take-home pay will go down.

Corporations will save a ton of payroll costs. The profits and the CEO bonus will rise, shareholders will be happy and the employees’ lives will be turned upside down. The number of people with no health insurance will skyrocket.

At less than 30 hours, many workers will have to get a second job to get by, if they can get one, but two jobs will still not be enough money to afford health insurance and the very basic necessities of life.

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  1. Two different gaming companies I have worked for have used this practice for years to reduce employee eligibility for benefits. There are anecdotal stories that this is SOP at WalMart. I suspect the Affordable Care Act won't increase this practice by much. If it does, it might tell us more about American businesses than about the ACA.

  2. Mr. Starr,

    Some businesses don't provide health care coverage when they could afford to. Others don't because they cannot afford to. The 'one size fits all' of the ACA has led to these actions by some businesses. In addition, if the ACA does reduce costs the way President Obama said it would, these effects will be minimized. So far however, costs have not been reduced and while I hope they are in the future, I'm not holding my breath.

    You also speak of businesses as monolithic when they are anything but. If some companies offer health care coverage and others don't, just like now, those that do will hold a competitive advantage in gaining and retaining the best employees.

    The best way to better our health care system has always been to try to do things that result in lower costs. Instead the primary aim of the ACA as passed has been to get more people into the system, by government coercion if necessary. Not surprisingly, this isn't working real well and is having unintended consequences.

    Michael

  3. The truth is that health care costs have been and will keep on going up. Blame whoever and whatever you want. Obama care gives companies 2 exemptions [loopholes] to the law: Working less than 30 hours a week and employing less than 50 workers. Companies are taking advantage of the loopholes. Do you blame them or the law? Whatever, it doesn't change the facts.

    Carmine D

  4. Here's the truth being spread out for all to see. The left doesn't give a rats-ass about health insurance. What the left wants is complete control over how businesses and individuals act. As a former business owner, I always did what was in the best interests of my company first, my customers second and my employees third. My goal was to see to it I stayed in business and I watched costs, all of them, carefully. While I never considered my employees to be my "friends," I never considered them to be my "enemies," either. They were a necessary expense and had to pull their weight or I replaced them with those that did. Apparently, many commentors never had to meet a payroll; pay for goods, services and utilities; make sure all taxes and fees were paid on time; and keep the customer base happy or go out of business. They write from super economic ignorance and, in many cases, envy. If I were to still be a business owner, I would take advantage of every avenue offered to keep my costs within reason. To not do so would be financial suicide.

  5. President Kennedy once stated, "Life is unfair."
    In the Bible, there is a phrase that states, "The poor will be with us always."

    The Affordable Care Act, was an attempt to make life fair, and to relieve the plight of the poor. Certainties in life that cannot, in fact, change, no matter how much mankind would wish and do otherwise. It is misguided, to say the least, to believe the ACA will eliminate human suffering and need.

    As Commenter Jerry Fink penned, when you are a business owner, you do whatever possible to stay in business. Your reputation is on the line, and either consumers support your business or they go elsewhere.

    Now, part of that reputation is products for a fair price, service, and shopping environment. If you have people serving customers at the front looking destitute while your business front looks great, you soon have an image problem, and some customers will question whether or not you are "giving back" to the community, which begins with your own business staff. Your employees are in part, your best advertisement. They reflect how much YOU care, about others, and the products consumed.

    The bottom line is staying in business. Those businesses that can afford treating their employees with care, will have better employees who will be loyal, show up for the job on fire to put in their best day. They recipicate. As a businessperson, you do only what you CAN afford. That is it.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  6. We have an employer based health care system in this country. Healthcare has gotten so expensive that employers can no longer afford to provide it.

    The average cost for a family health care plan is $15,500 a year. That's why employers are doing everything they can to avoid providing medical care. It's getting to the point where healthcare costs as much than wages for low-paid workers.

    The Review Journal did a front-page article yesterday on hospital costs in Vegas. The average hospital bill $71,000. How much does the average person in this town have put aside for medical care. Nothing! We are dead last in terms of money set aside for contingencies. This according to a study that was done a while back that reflected savings rates across the United States. Nevada was dead last.

  7. A year or so ago Don Murren did an interview with Neil Cavuto. He is the CEO of MGM Corporation. MGM spends $400 million to ensure 40,000 employees. $10,000 per person. It's complete idiocy that Americans are so stupid that they would let it get to this.

    Americans default on so many medical bills that it's equivalent to the output of some small nations. Neither businesses or individuals can afford any of this crap.

  8. What has been accomplished is that the discriminatory practices of insurance companies will be effectively eliminated. The 40 million Americans that refuse to buy insurance is not the core issue. It's the 150 million Americans that suffer serious chronic illness that is the issue.

    Only one in seven working Americans are of normal weight and lack chronic health issues. Prior to the law these Americans had to find employment with companies that provided good insurance. Soon they will be able to buy insurance that meets their needs as opposed to parking cars and cleaning toilets for big companies that provide insurance. Smoking, back problems, obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma would all keep someone from being able to buy health insurance in the past. In addition under insurance is a major problem. The majority of healthcare related bankruptcies that occur in the United States are among working adults with families, insurance, and good incomes. Co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance and refusals to pay result in countless Americans going bust because their insurance doesn't cover close to the costs.

    I belonged to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and worked on healthcare related issues for decades in this country. Millions are working at jobs that they hate just for the insurance. Healthcare and wages have been at the top of the list in every major labor negotiation that's taken place in this country since Harry Truman was in office. The new law gives people a hell of a lot more choices than they had before.

    Currently it's employer-sponsored insurance or Medicaid if you get sick and go bust. Take your pick!

  9. http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2011/1...

    Under the old rules the only option for 6 out of 7 working Americans is to find a job with high quality insurance. Those jobs are few and harder to find.

  10. I know for a fact cutting hours for part timers is a tactic employers use. I watched it happen to co-workers of mine back in 2001, long before Obamacare. Mr. Starr is positively correct, by cutting those hours part time employees became ineligible for health care coverage, paid vacations, paid holidays, overtime, or sick leave. At times when they worked beyond their scheduled hours, managers juggled their schedules, giving them time off.

    The World Health Organization reported that American health care is more expensive than any other nation and runs at about 16% of our GDP. Running health care for a profit is one reason we have these costs, similar to the greed that drives the banking system.

    Working class people suffer from financial disparity causing the decline of the middle class and we can't expect things to change until others get that thought through their thick skulls. There is no such animal or policy as "trickle down" in any form that works.

  11. It becomes clearer to more Americans each day that OBAMACARE HAS TO GO. We cannot afford it. Each day we delay the repeal means more money squandered on regulations and new tax forms. Eliminate MEDICAID. Reform Medicare re end-of-life care that takes more than 25% of Medicare costs. Reform Medicare re payment for procedures and "care" that does NOT enhance quality of life, health or anything other than the M.D.'s bank account.

  12. Future... You don't know me and know nothing about me. I went up against healthcare lobbyists to try to get health care costs under control in the 1980s and 1990s. I am anything but I healthcare lobbyist.
    I retired nine years ago and moved to Vegas. I can assure you I get no money from the healthcare lobby currently or in the past.

    Anyone who thinks that Obamacare is going to be repealed is dreaming. The provisions are wildly popular and millions have already made changes.

    United healthcare is the nation's largest health insurer. Prior to the election they put out a press release that if Obama were to lose and the health care law were to be repealed they were going to maintain nearly all of the provisions. Including allowing children to stay on their families plans, removing lifetime caps and the discriminatory practice of not ensuring people that have medical problems.

    Ms. Anderson wants to eliminate Medicaid. She needs to read the front page article in the Review Journal yesterday. Without Medicaid every hospital in this town would go bust by happy hour. Medicare and Medicaid provide the funding that keeps the entire hospital industry and business not to mention the drug industry.

  13. http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/20...
    read the above piece from Forbes that was put out last June.

  14. The ultimate goal of unregulated capitalism is to congregate the largest amount of riches into the smallest number of people. Ethics, morals, decency etc. have no bearing on the ideology of capitalism because it is an economic theory and has no social implications.

    The plantation owners of the Caribbean and Confederate South revolted against the idea of minimum wage, let alone health care. By doing so, their reward was to live in splendor, unmatched anywhere else in the world and to hell with the labor in the field that created the wealth. Wealth was given to those who had control, not who performed the labor.

    Plantation owners cared about only themselves, and spent money on houses with Colonnades on their front porches rather than provide freedom, a living wage or health care for their slaves. After all, they owned the lives of newborn slave children who would take over where their parents left off...

    There has been no change in human nature since the civil war. The Neo-Confederates are saying that they can't afford taxes and health care at the same time. After eliminating health care, taxes come next on the reduction objectives.

    First get rid of taxes, then get rid of wages. If slavery was not outlawed in the US today, it would be growing with leaps and bounds.

    There is no shortage of money to pay for wages and healthcare. The new shortage of money is in paying for a bigger estate, new cars and boats.

  15. Federal laws oftentimes accomplish just the opposite of their intent. Obama care was supposed to make health care available to more people who are without it at lower costs to everybody. Instead, just the opposite occurs. Those who need it [like the elderly] pay more and those who don't need it [the young invincible who have to sign on to lower costs] can't. Why? The elderly pay 7 to 8 times more than all others for health care premiums. The young and well are preempted by the loop holes in Obama care: Less than 30 hours work per week and fewer than 50 employees per company.

    Carmine D

  16. It would appear supporters of Obama care missed the biggest story within the story when the Senate passed a budget last week for the first time in 4 years.

    "By a vote of 79 to 20, the Senate moved to rescind [read REPEAL] the 2.3 percent tax on manufacturers and importers of medical devices....Thursday night's vote was nonbinding since it was on an amendment to a Senate budget resolution which is not likely to result in a budget plan that Republican-controlled House would agree to."

    Carmine D

  17. "Carmine, what does that have to do with the gist of this story?"

    GO back and read the first two sentences [lead] of this article. Note Obama care appears in each of the two sentences.

    "More and more companies are cutting part-time employees' hours to less than 30 hours per week to avoid Obama care. Their justification and press releases blame the outrageous costs that resulted from Obama care."

    The medical devices tax is one of 21 taxes in the Obama care law to pay for it. It [medical devices tax] took effect on January 1, 2013. As do other taxes to pay for Obama care now and will in the next 2 years. SENATE Democrats, who passed Obama care in March 2010, as well as those elected in the mid term of 2010 and November 2012, joined Republicans to vote to repeal this particular Obama care tax. It was not a close vote, not partisan, not even bipartisan but a huge one lopsided vote to repeal.

    Then, remember these three facts about Obama care. (1) Obama care was over 2000 pages. Few if any in Congress read it. (2) Not one Republican voted for it. It was a partisan Democrat passed law. (3) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in her own inimitable way, said we have to pass the bill in order to see what is in it.

    It passed. Democrats are seeing what is in it. So are Americans. They don't like it. As more of Obama care takes effect up to the 2014 mid terms, Democrats are going to split ranks with the President on Obama care. Like Senator Manchin did in 2010 when he won election.

    Read the comments here for and against Obama care. Think, just based on what you know so far and the recent SENATE vote on the devices tax, about the rode ahead for Obama care, the Democrats who voted for it, and Americans who have to live with it and pay for it. Hold on. It's going to be a rough ride.

    Carmine D

  18. Don't get me wrong. I think the intent behind Obama care is absolutely noble. President Obama no doubt had grandiose visions of righteousness with the passage. Had too. Remember his right hand man the VP said to President Obama, on the occasion of the Obama care passage, and in front of millions of Americans looking and listening on with TV and an open microphone: "This is a BIG "F-ing" deal. Biden is a Catholic and likely will be not be allowed into H-E-L-L.

    But the path to h-e-l-l is paved with good intentions. President Obama gets an 'A' for his intent with Obama care. BUT he gets an big fat red failing 'F' for implementation and results.

    If I have not answered your question, I apologize in advance.

    Carmine D

  19. Teamster:

    I wonder if the hard working life long dues paying union working Cypriots wish now that they converted their Euros into gold TWO WEEKS AGO. Then they could sell the gold and pay for their gas and whatever else they need and want. Like buying a gun and ammo! Over a week now and counting and the Cypriots don't have access to their own money. When the government finally does give them access, it will ration their own money to the Cypriots, AFTER confiscating what they want first.

    What was that you posted here recently about my predictions being wrong?

    Carmine D

  20. If 40 percent of the funds are from the thug Russians, then 60 percent are Cyprus funds. I speak for them [the 60 percent] and others like the Cypriots. Recall in my post I said "hard working life long dues paying union working Cypriots." Not Russian thugs.

    Your Time expose is wrong or you are misinformed and/or both. The health care industry professionals pay the Obama care medical devices tax. $2 billion this year and $20 billion for the next 7 years. To pay for Obama care. If people who need health insurance and can't afford it are paying these Obama care taxes to the government, then they don't need government provided coverage. They're doing quite well on their own accord.

    Carmine D

  21. "Carmine, let me put in in words you may understand"

    If at first you don't succeed, try...try again. This time with less words.
    Carmine D

  22. More bad news on the Obama care rough ride ahead.

    http://news.yahoo.com/study-health-law-r...

    And the hits for Obama care just keep coming.

    Carmine D

  23. "100+ percent increase in the stock market during Obama's tenure. And the hits for Obama just keep coming."

    So do the Obama errors, strikes, and outs. A stock market rise doesn't do squat for the 25 million Americans unemployed, the millions of Americans who lost their homes due to foreclosures, and all the Americans whose homes are underwater and not worth what they owe on them.

    Carmine D

  24. Mr. Starr: SOMEONE has to pay for all the spending. The Fed's do the zero interest rate thing so seniors and savers pay a big chunk of the deficit spending. As Obamacare in implemented and taxes increase but not enough to cover endless procedures that people don't need, working Americans will pay the rest. Some via inflation. Or, as long as inflation is artificially held down, we all pay via "unintended" consequences of money manipulation. It seems more PC to import, feed, cloth, medicate, educate, adopt 15-20 million illegals and all their kids than to take care of OUR seniors, our disabled, our kids, our displaced workers.

  25. 2bxx: You miss the real issue. The poorest of the poor do NOT need health care insurance. They need some health care--whether they pay, we pay via emergency rooms or they get assistance. Those truly in need of medical procedures (in foreign countries) often get free care from American doctors, hospitals, non profits. To provide endless ELECTIVE care via tax-paid health care insurance for everybody is FOOLISH, STUPID, UNSUSTAINABLE.