Monday, January 4, 2016

Obamacare Tightens Yoke on Small Business

One of the worst of Obamacare’s ill-conceived provisions went quietly into effect on January 1. The employer mandate, previously inflicted only on businesses with 100 or more employees, will now be imposed on those with as few as 50. This mandate will prevent countless small employers from hiring workers they would otherwise have hired and incentivize many others to replace full-time employees with part-timers. It is such an obvious job killer that the Obama administration delayed enforcement until after the 2014 midterms, the liberal Urban Institute has called for its repeal, and it has even been obliquely criticized by Hillary Clinton.
The employer mandate requires all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health coverage to at least 95 percent of these employees as well as any dependents they may have under age 26 — or pay crippling fines. But not all small employers can afford to offer insurance. Those which lack the resources to do so will avoid the mandate by assuring that the number of full-time workers they employ remains below 50. And, because Obamacare has arbitrarily redefined “full-time” to mean 30 or more hours per week, the employer mandate effectively caps both the number of workers many businesses can hire and how many hours they will work.
One hardly needs to be a Nobel laureate in economics to see that this scheme will exacerbate unemployment and underemployment. This is why the Obama administration ignored the law, which required the mandate to go into effect for all employers on January 1, 2014. Hoping to avoid the wrath of the voters in that year’s midterms a group of congressional Democrats went to the White House and persuaded the President to delay its implementation. Thus, the enforcement date was pushed back to January of 2015. Six months later, he arbitrarily moved back the implementation date for employers with 50 to 99 workers until this year. 

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