Great piece of real reporting that is also entertaining:
I happened to turn on the Hannity show on Fox News last Friday evening. “Average Americans are feeling the pain of Obamacare and the healthcare overhaul train wreck,” Hannity announced, “and six of them are here tonight to tell us their stories.” Three married couples were neatly arranged in his studio, the wives seated and the men standing behind them, like game show contestants.
As Hannity called on each of them, the guests recounted their “Obamacare” horror stories: canceled policies, premium hikes, restrictions on the freedom to see a doctor of their choice, financial burdens upon their small businesses and so on.
“These are the stories that the media refuses to cover,” Hannity interjected.
But none of it smelled right to me. Nothing these folks were saying jibed with the basic facts of the Affordable Care Act as I understand them. I understand them fairly well; I have worked as a senior adviser to a governor and helped him deal with the new federal rules.
I decided to hit the pavement. I tracked down Hannity’s guests, one by one, and did my own telephone interviews with them.
First I spoke with Paul Cox of Leicester, N.C. He and his wife Michelle had lamented to Hannity that because of Obamacare, they can’t grow their construction business and they have kept their employees below a certain number of hours, so that they are part-timers.
Obamacare has no effect on businesses with 49 employees or less. But in our brief conversation on the phone, Paul revealed that he has only four employees. Why the cutback on his workforce? “Well,” he said, “I haven’t been forced to do so, it’s just that I’ve chosen to do so. I have to deal with increased costs.” What costs? And how, I asked him, is any of it due to Obamacare? There was a long pause, after which he said he’d call me back. He never did.
They’re all like that, so go read the rest.
Eric Stern lives in Helena, Montana. He was senior counsel to Brian Schweitzer, former Governor.
A couple of weeks ago I was picking up free mulch at the town recycling center. A landscaper I know, Brian, was also there. He told me he had to buy health insurance for his employees “by October 1st”.
Brian doesn’t do any landscaping for me but he does plow the law office parking lot in the winter, and he has at most, in the summer, maybe ten employees. I think he has “zero” employees in the winter because he personally plows my parking lot, alone. I told him “you don’t have to buy anything for your employees by October 1st, or ever” and we left it at that, but if we’re wondering where the “job killer” belief is coming from, well, we have a partial answer.