What did you do at work today?
I started the day by telling everyone who works with me that the company is no longer able to provide health insurance for them or their families. There is nothing quite like delivering crappy news to a bunch of people who could not deserve it less.
I’ve been sick about this for weeks, knowing today was coming, knowing there isn’t a reasonable alternative, knowing that every scenario ends exactly the same way, in the same meeting, looking at those same shocked, disappointed, confused, angry faces, knowing nothing I might say would mute the sting even a little.
Then there’s the business side. Not providing benefits will be a net drag on the company, especially when it comes to recruiting. In today’s high-tech marketplace, fringe benefits aren’t fringe – they’re deal-breakers. So, the government, through bone-headed socialistic feel-good policy, is forcing the business to rely on contractors – the very same contractors the very same government is doing its level-best to reclassify as employees.
How any company without politicians on the payroll navigates these slime-infected waters is a mystery to me. “Compliance” costs quite literally suck the marrow right out of the corporate bone. And God forbid I complain about it, or I might find myself labeled a 1-percenter, a corporate raider, a profiteer who puts greed over the safety and well-being of my poor, downtrodden, overworked, underpaid, disadvantaged employees.
Yeah. I’m mad.
You’d be mad too, if “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” translated into “screw you, pal” every time you walked into the office.
Let me give you a little perspective on precisely why I HATE the Unaffordable I Don’t Care Act.
Six years ago, my partner Laura and I sat down to form what we hoped would be an awesome place to work. All the coolness, no stupid foozball tables. One of the first things we decided was that our families came first, that the company existed to provide for our lifestyles, not the other way around. Along with that, we decided that the company would cover employee benefits. All of them. One hundred percent.
Three years ago, that’s where we were. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it.
Two years ago, prices had risen so far and so fast that we had to ask employees to pay a portion of their own benefits. It was a painful decision, but a necessary one. We’d gone as far as we could go and still run a tight ship.
Two months ago, we received notice that life as we knew it (employee benefit-wise) was going to suck. ANOTHER massive cost spike was headed our way, this one fueled by a 40-percent TAX buried deep in the health care law. Then we got word that our existing policy (which we liked very much, thank you) was canceled, and that we’d have to move to a similar, government-approved policy. And pay 41-percent higher premiums. And higher co-pays. And more co-insurance. And higher deductibles. And double the out-of-pocket. Then we were told ANOTHER “Cadillac” tax (20 percent) was coming next year.
Even if we could offer this “benefit,” most of our employees said this morning they couldn’t afford to accept it!
Something the writer PJ O’Rourke said really stands out: If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.
If you want to argue Obamacare’s pros with me, that’s fine. But there is no debate. I have half-a-dozen solid examples of its absolute failure sitting around today wondering what their health care picture will look like in a few months. Please, explain to me – and to them – how robbing them of a health plan they rather enjoyed so that I might instead pay for some random stranger’s health care via taxpayer-funded subsidy is the right thing to do.
I double dog dare you.