AP: House Dems' ObamaCare Iteration to Penalize Businesses Using Part-Time Workers

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Rush mentioned this on the air as his show opened.

It comes from the Associated Press, in a later paragraph of an Obama cheerleading item ("Obama pitches health plan in spirited appearance"; AP picture at right is from that story) by Julie Pace and David Espo.

The paragraph in question opens by giving readers the impression that either Pace, Espo, or another AP person has actually seen language in whatever iteration of ObamaCare happens to be floating around House chambers these days. But then it backs down and says it's only "described by a Democratic aide," meaning that the wire service is willingly serving as a trial-balloon enabler:

In a new change sought by House Democrats, the fix-it bill would require businesses to count part-time workers when calculating penalties for failing to provide health coverage for employees. Smaller businesses would be exempt. The Senate bill would count only full-time workers in applying the penalties, but under the change, described by a Democratic aide, two part-time workers would count as one full-time worker. Businesses say that's unduly burdensome, but Democrats contend it would prevent businesses from avoiding penalties by hiring more workers part-time.

A graphic of the paragraph in question, in case it's revised, is here.

This would serve to penalize businesses that rely almost entirely on part-time or seasonal help. Just a few examples: amusement parks, fast-food operations, much of retail, and call centers. These businesses would have to pay a tax for not offering health care coverage to employees who are not and never have been eligible for full-blown company-provided benefits.

This is beyond bizarre. It's as if there's something wrong with having employees who have of their own free will committed to not working 40 hours a week.

As to the expected business reaction of going to more part-timers in the absence of such a provision -- My gut reaction is that this idea would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and and thousands of businesses and more than a few industries in one fell swoop, meaning that there would be few businesses of any kind to worry about, period. It's almost as if they want to accomplish just that.

I'm sure commenters will have other insights based on their understanding of the circumstances of other businesses.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.