Facing steady opposition against ObamaCare and a long, steady string of news reports documenting reduce hours for employees and/or job losses, many Democrats in Congress have realized that they are losing the message battle over the law.
At the end of last week, Politico noted that some House Democrats were able to stress their concerns to DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose department is reponsible for ObamaCare’s implementation. Her response to those concerns was, well, rather callous (emphasis mine):
Congressional Democrats told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday that Americans are still very confused about the health care law — including older people who worry that Obamacare will change their Medicare.
Sebelius went to the Hill for another update with Democrats on Obamacare rollout. HHS this week overhauled its website, focusing more on the exchange enrollment, which starts Oct. 1.
[L]awmakers said that Sebelius’s main message was the importance of countering false notions about the law that are prevailing around the country — and doing it at a grass-roots level. She told lawmakers not to worry when they read media accounts about people losing their health coverage, said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.).
“There are articles here and there in newspapers talking about people who lost their coverage, … but the assurance she’s been giving us is a lot of those are probably pre-anticipations, and a lot of those are going to be unfounded if they just take a deep breath,” he said.
A recent survey from Gallup showed that many employers are worried about the impact that ObamaCare will have their businesses. The poll showed that 60% of employers have either stopped hiring or eliminated jobs because of the law.
Just last week two Pennsylvania school districts — East Penn and Southern Lehigh — cut employees’ hours to avoid the employer mandate, a part of the law that requires a business to offer health insurance to any employee working at least 30 hours per week. School districts across Indiana and North Carolina are facing similar quandries. The State of Virginia has also cut hours for non-salaried workers.
Things are just as bad in the private sector. Restraurant franchisees are scaling back hours and expansion because of the ObamaCare. Universal Orlando, a major theme park, and Regal Cinemas have take similar steps. These are just the most well known examples, but there’s an seemingly endless list of businesses that have taken dramatic steps to avoid the burdensome costs of ObamaCare.
These concerns are not “unfounded,” as Sebelius would have us believe. Employers have real concerns which have real world consequences for their employees, as the law has already started to drive up the cost of health insurance coverage. They’re hurting, but the message from the Obama Administration is dismissive. That “trust us” line may work with some in Congress. But these Democrats should ask a small business owner how they feel about ObamaCare and its effect their employees and their bottomeline.