Wegman’s is a grocery store chain in the Northeast. As part of its business model, it has offered part-time employees health benefits. Anyone who worked twenty hours per week were eligible. Note that Obamacare does not require employers to provide health coverage for employees unless they are working thirty hours a week or more.
But Wegman’s is dropping their practice. No longer will the store chain provide health insurance for part-time employees. According to the Huffington Post:
“The chain joins a host of other large companies that have retooled in anticipation of the Affordable Health Care Act. Some have been criticized for cutting worker hours to avoid paying for health-care coverage under the new law.”
But the Huffington Post claims there is hope that this time the situation is different. Wegman’s is dropping the health coverage because workers will be better off now without it.
Or, rather, because they might be better off.
“It’s possible the workers no longer covered by Wegmans in 2015 may actually benefit from their new arrangement thanks to Obamacare, Paul Fronstin, the director of the Health Research Program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, told HuffPost. ‘Low-income people are probably better off,’ getting insurance through Obamacare than through their jobs, Fronstin said… For many low-income workers, the Obamacare subsidy to buy coverage may very well be more than the tax credit employees receive for paying into their companies’ insurance plan, which could make the Wegmans change beneficial for those workers, Fronstin said. ‘That subsidy may be better than the tax break you’re getting through work,’ he said.”
In other words, employees enjoying a real known benefit have just been thrown out on the mercy of an untried, unproven, complicated contraption that promises it will be better.
Apart from the speculations of a Paul Fonstin about whether or not Wegman’s employees will be better off in how much free money they get, I can tell you with certainty that they will be worse off. They will no longer be free.
The reason Wegman’s provided health coverage was because they respected their workers. By offering the benefit they were able to make more people want to work for them part-time than would have been the case without the health benefit. This gave Wegman’s greater selection so they could pick higher-quality workers. The part time employees had the satisfaction of knowing that they were receiving the health coverage because Wegman valued their work and wanted their loyalty.
Now all of that is gone. Now medical benefits are provided by stealing from the general populace and enslaving providers. Bastiat wrote that the state is the great fiction by which everyone attempts to live at the expense of everyone else. Before the change, Wegman’s was a shiny exception. It provided for people without the state’s help or orders. It was a free exchange between free men. Obamacare wants that system to die:
“For those rare companies like Whole Foods, Costco and Wegmans that offer health care for part-time workers, Obamacare is a “win-win,” Brian Murphy, a partner at Lawley Benefits Group, an insurance brokerage firm in Buffalo told the Buffalo News. That’s because employers can get rid of the cost of covering part-time workers and the employees still have affordable options available to get coverage.”
So Obamacare replaces what works for the unknown and the complicated. It systematically neutralizes the ability of workers to provide for themselves.