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Evidence suggests employers doing right thing under Obamacare

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

I am obliged at this time of hysteria about Obamacare to give some facts concerning the very real ramifications of The Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare). The following will bring to light what is actually happening as a result of the implementation of The Affordable Care Act.

Walt Disney Company (one of the largest employers in Florida) announced on Wednesday that it is offering full-time employment to the 427 part-time employees at its Disney World theme park in Orlando, Florida who work at least 30 hours per week-the threshold at which the Affordable Care Act requires large employers with 50 or more workers to offer basic health benefits to employees or risk paying a $2,000 per employee fine after the first 30 workers. Disney World Them Parks employs well over 59,000 people who live in the Orlando Florida area.

Disney already offers a level of health coverage that is acceptable under Obamacare to its full-time employees. But part-time workers, including those who work at the 30-hour cut-off set by the health law, receive more limited benefits. Instead of rolling back these workers' hours to avoid expanding health coverage, Disney is choosing to promote them to full-time status. "Disney wants to be proactive," said Ed Chambers, president of the Service Trades Council Union that represents tens of thousands of Orlando Disney employees, in an interview with Bloomberg News. "Disney is way out in front on this".

Examples like these are not shared by those who want to malign Obamacare. High-profile stories about companies that do adopt approaches less favorable to part time employees tend to dominate media coverage. But Obamacare critics' claims are not borne out by reality.

A recent survey of chief financial officers at large American firms finds that American companies actually intend to increase their number of full-time employees by almost 2 percent over the next year.

According to an analysis by the Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR) in July, just .06 percent of the American labor force worked between 26 and 29 hours per week in 2013.

Less than a third of these workers say they are working less than 30 hours because of an employers' decision, with most choosing to work a limited number of hours out of personal preference. That led CEPR researchers to conclude that the employment trend "is in the wrong direction for the Affordable Care Act as a job-killer story." In short, Disney and other employers are belying the myths that Obamacare adversaries are trying to sell. Voters and the American public need to look behind the headlines and learn what's really happening for the American workforce.

Bernadette Loesch