Recently AP floated a story that spread like a virus. Within a day it was picked up by Yahoo!, the Wall Street Cheat Sheet, and the Washington Post where it was headlined “Affordability Glitch.”
Thanks to a “wrinkle” in the law, the story warns, Obamacare may hurt many of the people it is supposed to help, by making “health insurance unaffordable for . . . workers employed by restaurants, retail stores, hotels, and small businesses.” The law is explicit, AP explains: “companies that employ 50 or more workers must offer ‘affordable’ coverage to those working more than 30 hours per week — or face fines. ‘Affordable’ health insurance, as defined by the legislation, means that premiums can cost no more than 9.5 percent of an employee’s income. . . . . . . For low-wage workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck and earn barely enough to cover basic necessities 9.5% represents a lot of money.”
True, but the fact that the law says premiums can equal 9.5% of income doesn’t means that employer-sponsored insurance will cost 9.5% of a worker’s pay.
Nevertheless, Yahoo! conjures up a hypothetical employee who will be left out in the cold: “Take, for example, a restaurant worker who makes $21,000 per year. A premium that costs 9.5 percent of this income would run $1,995 for the whole year, or $166.25 per month. How could this employee possibly shell out nearly $2,000 a year for insurance?”
He will have to turn down his employer’s offer, and then the government will demand that he pay a penalty because he didn’t buy insurance!