Year after year, Forbes magazine places Wegmans Food Markets high on its “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, usually in the top five in the country. The supermarkets are based in Rochester, New York, a region that has been hit hard by economic stagnation, with downsizing at several companies (like Xerox and Kodak) that were once the biggest employers in the region. Wegmans has been a refuge for many employees, drawn to its generous salaries, bonuses, and benefits package. Last year Forbes cited its low turnover rate (3.4 percent last year) as a factor in why the supermarkets are such popular places to work. Despite the critical role that the supermarket chain plays in the local economy, Wegmans became a less coveted place to work this summer when it was announced that some part-time workers’ health benefits would be cut thanks to ObamaCare and earlier this week it was announced that Trader Joe’s would do the same.
I’ve discussed the impact of ObamaCare on businesses quite a few times on this blog: on the restaurant industry, on individual small businesses, and on young people and part-time workers. This summer two stories emerged from two supermarket chains, Wegmans and Trader Joe’s, which have been held up by many on the left as shining examples of “responsible” corporate behavior. Their workers are paid highly (liberals describe it as “fairly”) and are rewarded with coveted and expensive perks like health insurance coverage. According to the Huffington Post, a number of part-time workers interviewed at Trader Joe’s worked there just to receive the subsidized insurance. Now that the insurance will have to be purchased on the ObamaCare exchanges market, workers are understandably wary of how far their budgets will be stretched in order to maintain the coverage they had before the president swooped in to make their insurance more “affordable.”
The latest liberal spin from ThinkProgress posits that the fact that more people are being pushed onto ObamaCare exchanges proves that the law is working as intended. Sadly, that’s not untrue. When the president stood in front of crowds of nervous Americans, he assured them that if they liked their insurance they’d be able to keep it. Conservatives expressed doubt. Conservatives knew then, as we know now, that it was a baldfaced lie. It was never the intention of the law to keep Americans on their own privately obtained health insurance plans. The few people who read the bill beforehand knew that, and human resources departments nationwide are coming to the same conclusion. It is prohibitively expensive to continue to provide the coverage mandated by the law, which is why we hear stories every day of workers being pushed to part-time status, and why many previously fortunate part-timers are losing the coverage they once enjoyed.