The Obamacare Scapegoat

The Obamacare scapegoat strikes again!  It seems that some businesses have found it useful to blame the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, to make unpopular announcements.  Unfortunately, the most recent attempt to deflect the blame using Obamacare hits my family directly as our daughter’s daycare, the West Virginia Public Employees’ Daycare, announced yesterday it would be closing down, in part because of the ACA.

My wife and I had actually caught wind of the rumor about a week before the announcement was official so while other parents were left shell-shocked upon dropping their kids off yesterday morning, we were prepared for the news.  As the director handed me the letter I asked what the reason was and without a moment’s hesitation she proclaimed, very matter-of-factly, “Money and Obamacare!”  I know a good bit about Obamacare and this immediately stuck me as a questionable claim as I knew there were not nearly enough employees at the daycare to qualify it as an employer that is required to provide health insurance to their employees under the new law.

While it does turn out that there are three centers combined and more employees than I was initially aware of, by their own account there are still only 40 in all.  However, the Affordable Care Act does not mandate any employer with less than 50 employees to provide health insurance — not this year, not next, not ever. 

As it reads on the Q&A of the Healthcare.gov website: “No employer with fewer than 50 full-time employees is subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment in any year.”  (bold emphasis theirs)

It doesn’t get much clearer than that. 

So, unless I’m missing something, the Affordable Care Act absolutely does not impact this daycare closure.  While there are no doubt some businesses truly being impacted by new ACA requirements, it’s a real shame that there are others like our daycare who are choosing to mislead us by claiming the ACA is at fault to deflect the blame from the actual reasons, whatever those may be, that they are closing. 

3 Responses to “The Obamacare Scapegoat”

  1. Lisa says:

    I’ve heard some of my conservative acquaintances use this excuse for the closure too. My first question is, shouldn’t the staff members already be already getting health coverage under the Public Employees Insurance Agency? If so, nothing was changed to PEIA, at least that’s what I was told by my employer (a state university). So how did it even factor into this?

    • Brandon Merritt Brandon Merritt says:

      Lisa, the daycare workers are not considered state or public employees, they are “contract employees” and do not receive any state benefits like PEIA health insurance or retirement (or even paid time off, to my knowledge).

      • Lisa says:

        Thanks Brandon. So then the Obamacare excuse holds even less water for me, which makes me even more angry.
        And as you said before that would go back to the less than 50 employees rule.

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