How Obamacare affects my small business and our young employees

That title is a little deceiving. It isn’t “my” business. I work for a small business. And because of the nature of what we do (bookkeeping) and the fact that the business is run like we’re family (sort of) things are different at our office compared to when I worked in corporate America. One of those things is about once every three months or so we shut the office down, put a sign out on the door that says “Office closed until 2pm for training” and we order lunch and relax for an hour and a half.

So Friday, we did just that. It doesn’t happen often but every now and again we do this. The entire office… all seven of us sit together, eat together and catch up, tell jokes, laugh and shed the work of the day for a little while.

Well the boss (who is also my dad) decided that instead of the usual casual nature of these lunches would change things up and talk a little business. He began by saying how he and I had been doing research trying to figure out what it is we were going to do with Obamacare and because it was now the “law of the land” we had to figure something out. He said it with some disdain in his voice because he is NOT a supporter of the president or any of his policies.

And believe it or not, none… NOT ONE of our employees has tried to comprehend what has happened in the political fight to bring national health care to the United States. Of course they’ve heard about it on the news, or Saturday Night Live or The Tonight Show but beyond punchlines and one-line commentary… they are clueless. So this conversation had a lot of me and dad trying to condense and explain in a short time the three years of what has happened with Obamacare. Although my dad pretty much hates Pres Obama, it was pretty objective the way we explained what’s happened.

So he went on to say that even with the subsidy the company’s health care bill went up dramatically. I don’t know what that means exactly but as a result the employees (myself included) are now going to have to pay a portion of our health care insurance where before we didn’t. Our accounting clerks don’t make a lot of money and with this news coming out of the blue (remember they weren’t following how Obamacare would impact them) and it being the gift giving season… you might imagine how this was received, especially since the portion they will pay is going to be about 15% of their gross.

It really sucks.

****

So we have two employees who are quite young. Both of these young ladies are 21. One has a child, the other has two. The one with two kids asked me what she should do because in the lunch room conversation her cousin (the youngsters are related) said, “well, what if I just don’t get the company insurance?” She said it as if she didn’t think it was a choice because she kind of laughed after saying it.

I explained to her that was a valid point and she certainly could decide not to participate. I explained to her if she didn’t get the mandatory insurance she would get fined and that at first she would probably be able to handle the fine easily but once you get to year three of not buying insurance it would sting her budget really hard.

So back to the first one who asked my advice. I asked her, “well, how often do you go to the doctor?”
“Never.”
“You never go to the doctor?”
“I never go… even if I’m sick which is rare. I don’t like doctors and usually I don’t have the money anyway.”
(she just started working for us and her husband has been out of work for a year after his trailer full of his landscaping equipment was stolen)

So I continue by asking if she engages in activities that might be considered hazardous like riding motorcycles, bungee jumping, driving without a seatbelt, speeding, sword swallowing, horse racing, pyrotechnics, cow tipping… you get the point.
She laughed and said no to all of that.
So I continued and asked if she thought she might get pregnant anytime soon and she emphatically said no. I don’t if she’s had her tubes tied or how she can be so certain but there is only one other way to be absolutely certain a woman doesn’t get pregnant unless of course you’re Mary the mother of Jesus.

So after the questioning I told her “I am NOT telling you to not get health insurance from the here but if I were you… young, healthy, didn’t engage in potentially dangerous activities, knew I would not get pregnant and simply couldn’t find it in my budget… I wouldn’t get the insurance.”

And that dear readers is what SUCKS about living in the State of Texas or any of the other 25 states that didn’t expand Medicaid. There is going to be a shitload more people who will go without the ability to affordably care for their own health and as such indirectly care for their families than there was before this mess got started.

Gov. Perry, members of Congress, the insurance industry, big pharma, Pres. Obama… YOU SUCK!

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