Wednesday, August 7, 2013



A colleague of mine, Greg Gerber, wrote the following opinion in his daily RV Daily Report Newsletter and I thought I would share it with you. I have never seen anyone discuss the impact this horrible piece of legislation would have on the travel industry. Greg pretty much nails it in this following piece.

With the new state-run healthcare exchanges coming online within a few weeks, we are starting to see reports about the magnitude of cost increases for health insurance under the new "affordable" health care law.

I have seen reports of premium increases between 28 and 198 percent, based on the state. Let's assume it's all fluff and hype, and increases due to the law's mandatory coverage requirements and removal of pre-existing conditions only average about 25 percent.

Employers are unlikely to bear the full burden of the increased costs. Those that continue with private coverage, rather than shifting everyone to government plans, will likely pass a bunch of those costs on to workers, up to the maximum 9.5 percent of total income allowed by law. That, in turn, will impact discretionary income -- the lifeblood of RV purchases and travel.

Forget about that likely scenario, and let's focus on one nobody is really talking about.

Obamacare requires companies with 50 or more workers to offer insurance to any employee working more than 30 hours a week, or pay fines up to $3,000 per worker. The intent of the law was to force employers to cough up money to pay for health insurance for every full-time employee. The unintended consequence was that employers eliminated full-time positions.

Granted, many small businesses employ fewer than 50 workers, the threshold required by Obamacare. But, many firms and large chain stores do. So, a large number of people are impacted by this.

A report released today, which you can read by clicking here, notes that American businesses created 953,000 new jobs in 2013. But, 77 percent of them are part-time jobs. It is in that story that the unintended consequences of Obamacare will truly impact the RV industry.

If employers cut hours so that many workers are scheduled below 30 hours a week, a single employee will see a 25 percent cut in pay. This isn't France, so I can't see American companies being willing to pay full-time salaries and wages to part-time workers. But it is worse for families.

·         Two workers x 40 hours per week x 4 weeks = 320 paid hours (the status quo)

·         One worker x 40 hours PLUS one worker x 30 hours x 4 weeks = 280 paid hours, a 12.5 percent cut

·         Two workers x 30 hours per week x 4 weeks = 240 paid hours, a 25 percent pay cut

If companies are forced to reduce hours to 30 per worker, does that mean the other 10 hours become a new part-time job? In other words, will a full-time position be reduced to one 30-hour job plus one 10-hour job?

I doubt it. I suspect the companies will expect the 30-hour worker to get 40 hours worth of work done in a single week. So, the new normal for "full-time" work will be 30 hours per week with 25 percent less pay.

But, most families will need to augment that 25 percent hit, which means someone will likely need to take on another part-time job.

Will a primary wage-earner need to find two 30-hour a week jobs, while the second wage-earner works the one 30-hour job?  Where two people once worked 320 hours a month at two full-time jobs, will the same family now need to work 360 hours at three "full-time" jobs just to maintain the income?

The benefit will be those families will see a 12.5 percent increase in pay. If that isn't sucked up in higher taxes, they will have more money to buy RVs and go camping.

But, where will they find the time? If one person has to work 60 hours per week, that will likely include weekend work at a second job. Which families will invest in an RV, if one member must work every weekend?

Also, does this mean a new "full-time job" will mean six hours a day, five days a week. Or will it be 10-hours a day, three days a week. Six 10-hour days still doesn't leave time for much "weekend."

Or will employers just learn that it's impossible to get anything done with a reduced workforce and just suck it up, not offer health insurance and pay the $3,000 penalty per worker?

I have no idea how this will eventually play out. But, the statistics are showing that employers are finding ways around the Obamacare requirements. The problem is that employees don't have that luxury. They will remain at the mercy of a system designed to protect them.