But as health-care costs soared, the cost for companies to hire employees also soared. Consider that an employee who earns $70,000 in annual salary is probably costing his employer closer to $100,000 in total compensation — a number that is set to jump as ObamaCare is driving up insurance rates for many.
Employers can avoid these costs, however, by not hiring full-time employees — and by hiring part-timers, temps or turning to services like mine.
Health reform could have worked out so much better.
What I had hoped for was a program by which the government establishes some needed guidelines, then mobilizes the private market to compete — much like the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit for low-income seniors, a huge entitlement success story since it was passed in 2003.
Under Part D, seniors are free to choose among a variety of benefits, costs and plans offered by private insurers. According to the Heartland Institute, Medicare trustees estimated a 2013 average monthly cost of $61 — when the actual costs are HALF that.
ObamaCare offers some features — state exchanges ± that encourage competition among private insurers, but it is largely a command-and-control model always preferred by bureaucrats. Have you seen the complex form individuals must complete to make use of the exchanges? Such an approach stifles the real competitive creativity and efficiency that has long been missing from the American health-care system.
And so we are saddled with another gargantuan entitlement that is puzzling private employers and making many of them wary of hiring full-timers — one reason the high unemployment rate persists.
Oh, well, the massive government disruption has been good for some — consultants who help companies understand the massive number of ObamaCare regulations, and people like me who provide corporate communications services that full-time employees used to.
Tom Purcell is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist.