NPR on the Obamacare-Driven Shift to Part-Time Work

I don't have time to excerpt but, as I predicted, the media is finally catching up to the enormous shift (mainly in the retail and service sector) to part-time work.    I had a long article on this at Forbes last week.


  1. marque2:

    And many of the folks who are announcing this are being called greedy industrialists.

    Heard about a movie theater chain changing to part time this morning, and they were called just greedy in a news program.

  2. Ron H.:

    Wow! Were there really 1.3 billion reactions to this post? I guess Coyote Blog is even more popular than I thought. :)

  3. John Marvin:

    This trend is also occurring in higher education (of all places, given the leftward lean of universities). Adjunct professors are having their hours restricted to stay below the Obamacare threshold. The Chronicle of Higher Education has had several recent articles on this topic.

  4. Ted Rado:

    This is just a start of the wave of schemes to avoid/screw/scam obamacare. The next step will be for the feds to change the law from thirty hours to twenty. The ultimate result will be that everyone will have four ten-hours-per-week jobs. We (Obama) have created a monster. All this accompanied by mass confusion and soaring health insurance costs. Deadbeats will find this a gold mine of possible ways to scam the USG. Are we stupid or what?

  5. sean2829:

    Look, this may end up easily being gamed by the people who end up with part time work. Think about other aspects of Obamacare. Employers are required to cover the employee, they are required to make healthcare available to juvenile dependents but are not required to pay for it. Employers are not even required to make insurance plans available to a spouse. So if a couple have two children and parent makes $45K and the other makes $25K, they will likely receive a very small amount of assistance for buying insurance for their family if they are married. But what happens if they are not? Then you make the kids dependents of the lower earning spouse and voila, you get substantial assistance for healthcare payments, mostly paid by the feds. So the lower earning spouse may only have to work 3 days a week and get a healthcare benefit worth thousands. It's possible some people will prefer to work fewer hours for more benefit. Considering that a large portion of the kids these days are born to single mothers, the government may have created the largest dis-incentive to marry since welfare started for the poor in the 60's Great Society. Obamacare has simply extended this option to the middle class.

  6. mesaeconoguy:

    I believe the correct regressivist term is "greedheads."

  7. Not Sure:

    "And many of the folks who are announcing this are being called greedy industrialists."
    And many of the people calling those folks greedy are the very same people who want their healthcare paid for by somebody else. Not that the irony of that will be recognized, of course.

  8. Benjamin Cole:

    You know, we are seeing waves of articles in which employers do something perceived as harmful to employees, but now they say "Obamacare made us do it." You guys fall for that?

    Employers have been gravitating to lower wages, benefits and part-time work for years, even decades. They have an incentive to cut costs, after all.

    BTW, I am no fan of Obamacare, and I think employers have the right to offer any terms they want, and if there are takers, then so be it.

    Personally, I want either a free enterprise health care system, or a single-payer model that limits health care to 12 percent of GDP.

    Right now in health care land, we have public money targeted by private-sector profit-seekers, and that will lead to huge money out your pocket.

    And like I say, euthanasia is the free enterprise solution to elderly and terminally ill health care costs, and should be the socialized answer too.

    But it will never happen in America. So get ready to pay up.

  9. mesaeconoguy:

    Um, yes, it will be gamed by them by seeking other sub-30 hr work week jobs, which may become abundant because of this, and force them to work 3 or 4 of them to afford the increased Obamascare premiums.

    Problem solved! Er - uh, not

  10. mesaeconoguy:

    Yes, it’s the “waves of articles” espousing the “costs of employment” and the “possibility of closing down business” due to the “Obamacare costs” and the “huge burden that places” on “small business.”

    Obviously, “the cost of doing business” is entirely dependent on government mandates.

    The reason unemployment is 14% is only because greedy businesses won’t create jobs out of spite.

  11. LarryGross:

    doesn't this mean that the employees will be able to get insurance directly from the exchanges - and that insurance will be portable so they can have it no matter where they work or how many jobs they have?

    isn't this better for most people in those kinds of jobs anyhow?

  12. marque2:

    It is always good to see the silver lining.

    More likely though, they will end up not getting insurance and ending up paying the penalty. so less money from work, pay a penalty for not having insurance = having quite a lot less income than before.

  13. marque2:

    Coyote blog is the 74th most popular libertarian blog. Don't doubt its viewership!

  14. LarryGross:

    I thought they'd get a credit and/or subsidized

  15. marque2:

    Can you explain the credit and how much they get, the income points, what if your spouse works, etc, and where that money will come from?

    Even with the credits I doubt most folks will opt for $4000 of insurance when you only have to pay a $695 fine.

  16. marque2:

    Hmm, you are also not including folks who have catastrophic plans payed for by the company that will no longer get that and now have to get subsidized insurance from an exchange.

    I would rather have my discount card, and have coverage only if the bills are over say 5K payed for by my employer (these are typical plans for low income workers) than have to pay $695 and not have any insurance.

    Really doesn't seem like your subsidized exchange plan really works out, unless the subsidy is for 100%

  17. LarryGross:

    if you go to - a lot of that is explained but you don't get fined if you cannot afford insurance.

    if you go to for your state you will see a dozen, 3 dozen different plans to choose from including catastrophic plans - and if you meet income levels then you would qualify for a subsidy or a credit at tax time.

    the folks who are opposed to ObamaCare are the companies who will be affected by it because some of them will be fined if they don't provide affordable insurance options but the people who need insurance will have access to the exchanges - which, BTW, are very similar to the Federal employee health care exchanges - google FEHB

    most individual people who cannot get insurance or it is not provided at work will greatly benefit from the health care exchanges.

  18. marque2:

    Guy you can prattle all you want. It isn't favorable for the people. It is going to cost them more because, you as a liberal, think you know better how everyone else should get healthcare.

    My health plan will be illegal next year, and so I too will have to pay twice as much - and I won't get any subsidies for my health care. Because of mandates, I have had increases of at 20% for the last two years, for my current plan.

    I have no idea who is benefiting, it costs more people are being thrown off existing plans. But hey if you are really poor you get a partial subsidy, yay. And all the leftist canards - "The insurance companies hate it because they will have to have low cost plans" BS, the costs have been going up, and if the government forces the costs lower, then the insurance companies will stop providing, leaving it all to the government - where the rich can pay, somehow. Dude you don't realize how most insurance works. Companies self insure and hire the Insurance company to just manage the paperwork for them. And there aren't massive admin fees to be saved.

    You live in a dream world. Keep reading those government propaganda sites.

  19. LarryGross:

    no.. I don't think so. but if you go to you'll see that there are quite a few options available plus subsidies and credits for those that have no insurance options with their employer ...

    The companies are not happy with ObamaCare - that's to be understood as it does cause them problems but individuals who previously had few or no insurance options are going to have more... a lot more.... and my speculation is that as individuals find out more and more than they can get some kind of insurance at the exchanges, they're not going to be opposed to ObamaCare... they're going to like it - especially since they will be able to freely change jobs and/or work at multiple jobs without having their insurance tied to their job.

    people are going to like that a lot I predict. It's like having a portable 401K but instead with your health insurance. It's going to give a lot of people a lot more job mobility.

  20. slocum:

    Well, it's certainly not better in the sense that their hours are cut and they have to try to juggle schedules with multiple jobs to get in 40 hours worth of work. So that's clearly worse. But is it better for them with respect to health care? Maybe, but maybe not. Some of the people in the service industry who previously have been working > 30 hours didn't need employer-provided medical coverage in the first place (because they're on their parents' or spouse's plan or are over 65 and on Medicare). But their hours will be cut just the same. And other service industry workers were previously going without insurance (because they're young, healthy, and have relatively low incomes). Now they won't have that option. Subsidized doesn't mean free. And their cheapest (and possibly best) option might be to pay the penalty instead of buying insurance on the exchanges (since guaranteed issue means they can sign up if they ever need expensive care). So they're going to end up with fewer hours and/or have to juggle multiple jobs and have to either pay a penalty on top of that or buy insurance they may not have wanted. I don't think many of these people are going to count themselves as better off.

  21. marque2:

    I wouldn't bother, Its like talking to a brick.

    But then I fell for it again, and actually replied to Larry myself.

    Of course Obamacare is going to make everything better, and Unicorns will slide to earth on magic rainbows which rain Skittles onto the ground - because a government propaganda website told him so - and there is no way to put reason into his mind.

  22. LarryGross:

    nothing is going to make it better for everyone no matter what but then again no one said that either.

    It will help those folks who don't have health insurance and work jobs that do not provide it.

    it will especially help those who are not on their parents policy (which is also part of ObamaCare by the way) or 65 who receive govt-subsidized Medicare.

    and it will make it easy for people in the industries that don't typically offer health insurance or much of it - to get some level of coverage no matter where they work no matter if they change jobs - i.e. portable health care not tied to the employer.

    is that better than what we have right now? I think it is. It's obvious arguable.

    but give the other options on the table - NOT! - Obamacare wins default.

    If those that oppose ObamaCare had actually put something on the table - perhaps at the time they chose to pass Medicare Part D - perhaps ObamaCare would have never happened.

    It is what it is. It's obviously not a unicorn but it's better than what many have right now.

  23. dc:

    Larry, the only people that are going to like it are going to be the people trying as hard as you are and making up any excuse in the book to click that "like" button next to obamacare. You have to look reeeeeeeal hard and overlook a looooooooooot of things about it if you're to try and assert it a good thing for us. But hey, in the life of skittle sh*tting unicorns, all is peachy right?

  24. Matthew Slyfield:

    "if the government forces the costs lower, then the insurance companies will stop providing, leaving it all to the government"

    Some might suggest that has been the plan from the beginning. Sneak a single payer plan that had no hope of getting passed by congress through the back door by driving all the private insurance providers out of the health insurance market.

  25. Matthew Slyfield:

    "but individuals who previously had few or no insurance options are going to have more... a lot more"

    The problem is that those individuals that will have more / better options are outnumbered by nearly an order of magnitude by those who will end up with fewer/worse options.

  26. LarryGross:

    the folks who are going to like it are the folks who cannot get it right now. We know who does not like it for sure but what I'm pointing out is that, for instance, we've already taken for granted the first part of ObamaCare that allows some to stay on their parents health care... folks are now citing that as a reason why we don't need ObamaCare!


    People are going to like being able to get some kind of health insurance and it's going to be a bonus that it's portable.

    I suspect that many people who actually have employer-provided health care but are locked in to a job they're afraid to leave would find portable health care to be empowering for them to leave and search for something better - as long as they and their family can maintain some level of health care.

    I think this aspect of ObamaCare is being seriously underestimated by those that oppose ObamaCare.

    just like the provision to stay on one's parents policy, the idea of having portable health insurance is likely going to be much liked by those that did not have that option before.

    I guess whether or not someone thinks that is a good thing or not is personal view.

  27. LarryGross:

    doesn't work that way in 30 other countries including Singapore though. How can 30 other countries get it to work and we cannot?

  28. nehemiah:

    Any republican who works with the dems to tweak the law to relieve some of the pain should be run out of town. The dems should choke on this bad law. Full repeal or choke on it. I am willing to endure the short term pain if it will result in full repeal.

  29. marque2:

    I bet in Singapore they knew what was in the law before the passed it, not visa versa as we did in the USA. That helps, and Singapore also is actually more free market than we are in many respects. Poor example.

  30. marque2:

    Skittles! Unicorns! Rainbows!

    I want them all, Obamacare for me!

  31. LarryGross:

    do people really read any laws? Did they read Medicare Part D or the Patriot Act? Even if they did, would they really understand it? Have you tried to read any law other than ObamaCare? they're all many pages long and unless you are a lawyer or legislator, pretty much greek. Beyond the law are the regulations which are not known until long after the law is enacted and the devil is often in the regulatory details.

    Singapore is more free market? Doesn't Singapore have a very hefty payroll tax (20%) to finance the health care and they give subsidies to those who have low income and the govt sets prices and requires that providers provide prices.

    In doing that, they end up with the lowest per person health care costs in the world.

    would you want the US to do what Singapore did? I'd support a system like that so maybe we agree on that!

    it's a pretty complex system - totally run by the govt.

  32. marque2:

    Did you actually read the Wiki article you reference? Singapore - in addition to making people pay for their own healthcare, and has high deductibles/copays. It also has a system of service level. Government will provide the basic service level (and you still have a deductible for that) but you can, at your own choice pay for better service and higher quality care. Hospitals even have individual penthouse suites with personal nurses for the rich in Singapore, while the base service is 8 to a room with one nurse watching everyone.

    Seems much more free market than what we have here.

    I stand by my statement.

  33. mesaeconoguy:

    Larry, if that is the best justification you can construct for Obamascare, then you (and your fellow supporters) are completely delusional.

    There are many other far better and more effective ways (including vouchers and subsidies) to cover the uninsured.

    The Obamascare “solution” is to fix the bottom tenth at the expense of the 90%. And it is an enormous expense, causing most others coverage to decline, and increase in cost.

    This shows how poorly informed you are, as well as your selfish need to control others behavior. 2 very bad personality traits.

  34. mesaeconoguy:

    It absolutely does work that way in 30 other countries, as well as all other countries.

    Just because you are ignorant of the tradeoffs doesn't mean they aren't there.

  35. LarryGross:

    and I stand by mine in saying that I'd be fine with a Singapore style system here.

    the most fundamental thing here is that it's the govt that is guiding the system - not the free market. The govt has instituted free market principles which I'm fine with as long as everyone has access to a basic level of care. The free market by itself will not do that. There are also govt subsidies for those who cannot afford even the basic levels of care.

    but again - it's the govt that is directing... and assuring access to healthcare.

  36. LarryGross:

    so you support subsidies to pay for folks who cannot afford care?

    who would pay for that?

  37. mesaeconoguy:

    This comment is beyond stupid.

    Of course people "really read" laws, dumbass.

    Many small businesses (like Warren's) employ special people called attorneys whose job it is to comb through legislation like Obamascare and make determinations on impact, and how best to position and protect the company from egregious government action, which Obamascare most definitely is.

  38. mesaeconoguy:


    Insurance companies were cut in on the deal, and it will be very beneficial to them in the short run, but they will all be driven out of the “exchanges” (LMAO) by government undercutting them, and onerous regulation (also by government).

    This is Econ 102.

    People opposed to Obamascare are all rational economic actors. As you have proven, you are economically (and otherwise) irrational.

    The goal is single payer, and it will be enacted within 10 years, if the country still exists.

    And stop referencing propaganda, fool.

  39. mesaeconoguy:

    There are a variety of ways. Any of them are preferable to Obamascare.

  40. LarryGross:

    so you and Margue2 both support subsidies? right?

    just want to make sure cuz it sounded like earlier ya'll did not.

  41. marque2:

    Yeah, but you would stand in a pile of shit if you thought it made Obama, and Democrats look good, even if the reasoning was totally crocked.

    You might want to look seriously at the Singapore system, rather than take your superficial viewpoint, since there are several very conservative/libertarian aspects to it, that make their system almost more free than ours. And it is those systems, plus a uniform society in a small land area that make the plan successful. But that won't happen.

    Skittles, Unicorns and Rainbows!

  42. mesaeconoguy:

    The problem with that is, the choking action is an intended outcome, whereby this piece of horseshit legislation gets replaced with single-payer by executive action, once the health system completely collapses - and it will under Obamascare, very quickly.

  43. dc:

    come up with a real argument - "those who cannot get it right now" go the the emergency room, where they are promptly treated and the bill gets wrapped up into a giant black box that is plenty paid for by tax dollars.

    portable, you say? oh right - what killed portable to begin with - government price and wage fixing.

    if you rely on the government to keep fixing things, you get broken fixes for broken fixes.

    come back when you've actually read a little bit more than the administration's talking points on this, you're regurgitating stuff straight off their website and cant even construct an argument to support it.

  44. mesaeconoguy:

    It is a piece of dangerous shit which will destroy healthcare.

    It will do none of the things you/the government say it will.

    You are a blinkered, philistine, pig-ignorant fool. And you will be held responsible when it collapses.

  45. LarryGross:

    I HAVE looked at Singapore and I totally support that approach. If the GOP offered it for their "REPLACE" part of their "REPEAL", I'd totally support it!

    but you can't just pick the parts you like because the system needs all the parts to work.

    I'd support a Singapore-type approach, adapted to our bigger country and demographic because the fundamental thing is that it's the govt that is directing the free market aspects and they do take care of people whom the free market would not.

  46. mesaeconoguy:

    I am personally in favor of a voucher-based system.

    That is the most efficient means of delivery, far more efficient than completely destroying the existing coverage for everyone else.

    You and Obama, being ignorant fools, prefer destroying current coverages.

    In Obama's case, this is intentional (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, Lar.) because he wants single payer. Obamascare is an intermediary step to a full single payer system, to take over from the failed piece of garbage of Obamascare.

  47. LarryGross:

    re: the ER -we agree! the question is since you and I are paying anyhow - do you want to pay ER prices for routine medical care? I don't.

    re: portable - I think what killed "portable" was making health insurance a tax-free benefit from the employer who would not benefit if the employee could leave and keep their plan. Employer-provided health insurance was supposed to be a competitive benefit to attract employees from other companies that did not offer or offered less.

    How many countries in the world offer portable health care to all citizens? Aren't all those countries - the industrialized countries that have govt-guided health care?

    what countries offer healthcare to all citizens that is not govt-guided?

  48. LarryGross:

    isn't a voucher system a subsidy? I don't really defend ObamaCare. ObamaCare is what happens when no other approaches were approved. If Congress had done something at the same time they did Medicare Part D, ObamaCare would have never happened.

    If Newt Gingrich and the GOP had passed their own version of the individual mandate instead of just opposing Hillary-care, we'd not have ObamaCare.

    You cannot be opposed and offer no alternatives then cry when something worse passes.

  49. mesaeconoguy:

    Yes, vouchers act as subsidies.

    Don’t really defend Obamascare?

    Good God, man. Read your own comments. You need much help. I’m 100% serious.

    HillaryCare? Just as bad.

    I actually do agree with your other sentiment – Repugs have done nothing and proposed no free market alternative, and now its too late. They completely failed.

    Just to be clear Larry – this is a libertarian blog, not left/right, Repug/Dumbasscrat, ok? We have been advocating free-market healthcare solutions for years.