My brother was robbed and beaten at gunpoint a few weeks ago, so we were talking about health insurance—unfortunately, he doesn’t have any. The three thugs who robbed him inside his apartment beat his face when he resisted; he stopped fighting when he couldn’t see anymore. When the paramedics arrived, they told him he needed to visit the hospital. He asked if it would cost more than $500, because he’s a 19-year-old kid who works two part-time jobs—$500 is a lot for him. The paramedics said it sure would, but his injuries were so bad that he should go. So he did.
I’m glad he did; he has to live with his face for the rest of his life. But, I would guess his ambulance ride plus fourteen stitches over one eye and five over the other is going to cost him well over $15,000. That’s about five times what he pays in rent each year. And did I mention he doesn’t have health insurance?
He doesn’t get insurance through his jobs, because they are part-time. And while he has been looking for full-time work—like millions of Americans—he can’t find it thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new health care law penalizes businesses that employ more than 50 full-time workers by requiring them to give employees an expensive healthcare plan, or pay a fine. As a result, almost all of the few jobs currently being created are part-time.
If my brother buys insurance himself, the ACA makes his less-than-full wallet even thinner. The best guess we have now is that the law’s mandates will double the cost of health insurance for young men. I’m proud that my brother works two jobs to pay his way through life, but he doesn’t make very much for working so hard. And yet, if he thought health insurance was too expensive to buy before he got beat up, costs are now soaring even higher.
As I discussed all of this with my brother, most upsetting to him was the fact that he’s not able to earn more money by picking up extra hours at work. Employers are limiting part-time workers like him to less than 30 hours a week, because that is the ACA’s definition of “a full-time worker” who must receive health coverage.
[pullquote] [The ACA] uses the power of government to rob people of their ability to provide for their needs through free exchange.[/pullquote]
So, where does my brother find himself? He essentially has to work a job and a half without the ability to get employer-provided health insurance in a market where buying health insurance has gotten extremely expensive and he doesn’t even have the ability to earn more money by working more hours. His only other choice is to continue to go without health insurance, at which point he has to pay a fine, plus his own medical expenses whenever necessary. No wonder Congress exempted itself from this nightmare of a system.
If you ask me, the ACA is like the thugs who robbed my brother. It uses the power of government to rob people of their ability to provide for their needs through free exchange. As a result, needy people will suffer. They already are.