Obamacare Means Less Hiring For Small Businesses, Shorter Work Weeks For Big Businesses

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“There are no good options for these businesses that are at or near that 50 employee threshold,” the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Kevin Kuhlman explained to CNBC. “They either have to reduce hours, prevent growth and expansion, or move to a more temporary workforce. None of these choices are good.”

Kuhlman is talking about the Obamacare’s mandate that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance for every employee who works more than 30 hours per week. Many small businesses, near that 50-employee threshold, are looking for ways to slow growth lest they go beyond that threshold and incur major new costs.

But the Obamacare mandate isn’t just a headache for small businesses. Big businesses are facing problems too, and are looking at cutting hours:

For large retail and restaurant chains the big unknown in the year ahead is how much more they’ll pay for health coverage. Employers with 50 or more workers who put in 30 hours a week will be required to provide health care coverage or pay a fine, under the Affordable Care Act, also called the ACA or Obamacare. But the details haven’t been settled.

“We can’t really calculate what it’s going to be like,” said John Mackey, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods, an outspoken critic of the Obama health reform law.

His grocery chain already offers health care to workers at the 30-hour threshold. But he said the company may be forced to reconsider its full-time staffing levels, if the final employer mandate rules still being crafted by the Obama administration require companies to offer costly benefit options.

So less hiring for small businesses, and a cut back in hours for employees of big businesses. All so that the Affordable Care Act can make health insurance more expensive and harder to get.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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