November 23, 2012

Ezra Klein’s Nov. 20 column, “Cheer up, Papa John’s. It could’ve been worse” [Economy & Business], lauded the idea that Obamacare will somehow level the playing field between “good” employers who provide health care and “bad” employers who do not. What Mr. Klein missed is the devastating impact this well-intentioned law will have on working-class Americans.

An employer faced with this law has four options: 1) It can pay a fine for not offering insurance, which represents $2,000 in extra labor costs that cannot go to a worker’s raises and cannot be reinvested in the business to create more jobs; 2) It can spend much more money to buy health insurance with politically dictated bells and whistles that the worker may not want or need; 3) It can raise prices; or 4) It can convert full-time employees to part-time status — defined under Obamacare to be fewer than 30 hours a week. The smart money says that employers will opt for a combination of options 3 and 4, so hourly employees will pay higher prices while working less.

As we move to a nation of part-timers, I am confident that Mr. Klein and President Obama will blame “heartless” employers instead of the politicians who created these perverse economic incentives.

William A. DeVan, Alexandria

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