The Central Virginian

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Opening the discussion

Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

The Central Virginian published an article in the March 18 issue entitled, “A hit to the wallet,” which has generated a few letters to the editor and some comments on Facebook concerning the way The CV reported the story.

We appreciate those who have expressed their opinions on the subject, and encourage our readers to share their thoughts on issues such as these.  From reading some of letters, we thought it might be a good time to clarify this newspaper’s role.

The article was a report of a board of supervisors meeting that shed light on what county officials were considering and what was said.  It also explained why county leaders felt that decision needed to be made. Our goal is to inform residents of Louisa County how our elected officials’ decisions affect friends and neighbors.

The Affordable Health Care Act is a controversial issue with lots of pieces and parts. It’s not clear who really completely understands it. Even doctors and legislators don’t know all the ins and outs of the legislation.

We don’t plan to write a 10,000-word essay explaining the intricacies of a particular piece of legislation, but do want to report on the effect that the legislation may have locally.

What we do know is that employers with more than 50 employees are required to offer healthcare to staff who work 30 or more hours per week. The threshold for full-time was lowered from 40 hours per week to 30.

It’s safe to assume that most part-time employees have not been getting employer sponsored health care in the past.  With concerns focused on the bottom line, some will find ways to avoid having to provide it now.  Many employers – government and private – have found a loophole which would allow them to continue to not provide it.

It’s clear that overhead costs can make or break a business, and can be the difference between whether a business survives or dies.  The ramifications of a business deciding to close the doors because it can’t afford to provide coverage to each member of its staff means more people without jobs.

Unfortunately, it seems that part-time workers will get caught in the crossfire and many will face a double whammy under the new legislation – smaller paychecks as a result of reduced working hours, and still no benefits.

Yes, they can purchase health insurance policies on their own – but it’s probably safe to say that the cost of doing so may be well out of reach to someone working only 29 hours or less a week, especially without an employer subsidizing part of expense.

We can’t beat employers over the head and twist their arms until they cry uncle, but we can let our readers know what decisions are being made at the local level, so that they can form their own opinions, open up the discussion, and, let their voices be heard.