How not to report on Obamacare

    The news report above by a Johnstown, Pa. TV station was linked to last week by the website Real Clear Politics with the headline “Obamacare Forcing Companies to Reduce Hours and Not Hire Full Time.”

    The problem: The report offers no evidence, none, that Obamacare is doing that. No study is cited. No anecdote is offered. Nothing. Zero.

    The report is about the phenomenon of American employers increasingly relying on part-time and temporary workers.

    This is indeed a troubling trend, since it tends to deny workers benefits and family-sustaining incomes. It’s also not new.

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    The reporter in the story notes that under the Affordable Care Act, workers who get at least 30 hours a week are considered full time employees. So, she asserts, “some companies are reducing employees hours as a result.”  If there’s a factual basis for that assertion, it isn’t shared with the audience.

    The assertion that Obamacare reduces job growth is rooted in the requirement, now postponed a year, that employers with more than 50 full-time workers offer a health insurance plan or pay a penalty. Maybe there are employers out there with 48 people who want to expand their operations but won’t hire three more people to avoid triggering the insurance requirement.

    Are there some? A few? Many? It’s a fair question to ask, but before reporting that it’s actually happening, we should see some evidence.

    As Obamacare rolls out in the coming months, there will be all kinds of people with political agendas who want to spin stories about its impact.

    We need to be able to count on journalists with no axe to grind to sort out the truth for us. We should do better than this.


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