Pro-Obamacare Saint Louis Hospital Cutting Back Benefits To Part-Timers … Apparently Because Of Obamacare
Earlier this year, BJC Healthcare hosted a press conference supporting the expansion of Medicaid in Missouri under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a fiscally irresponsible move that would just pump more money into the already broken state program. For BJC, the press conference made sense; it and hospitals across the country supported the law’s passage in 2010 believing they’d make more money by negotiating and defending the government’s overhaul plans. So when the supper call came late last year to get the Medicaid gravy train moving in Missouri, it wasn’t surprising that BJC and its CEO were out there ringing the triangle.
Yet, that BJC would become the face of the “Affordable Care Act” — also known as “Obamacare” — in Missouri takes some serious nerve. In 2012, the health system’s profits rose a whopping 129 percent, to more than $365 million from $158 million just a year before. It’s clear enough that BJC has done well in the three years since the bill was passed. But just because those three years have been good to some in the health care industry doesn’t mean it’s been as great for everyone, let alone BJC’s own employees. Just ask some of BJC’s part-timers:
BJC Healthcare, the largest St. Louis employer, is preparing to cut health insurance benefits for some of its part-time employees.
According to two part-time nurses with the BJC system, managers and Human Resources representatives recently began informing certain employees that those who do not work at least 24 hours per week will be ineligible for health benefits.
This change of policy could affect thousands of workers at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Christian Hospital and BJC’s other hospitals, outpatient centers and clinics.
BJC declined to discuss the matter.
Why would health care provider BJC cut health care benefits at this moment in time? You may have already guessed at the reason:
One part-time nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, who requested anonymity, said that she was recently told by a BJC manager that these health benefits were pared back as a consequence of the new health care law.
“Affordable Care”? (Emphasis mine)
Chris Johnson, vice president and manager of consulting services at J.W. Terrill, said dropping part-timers from health care coverage is a growing consideration as businesses grapple with rising health care costs and changes to the health care landscape under Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act made care less affordable, created a system that could end up with American jobs being shipped abroad, imposed (and imposes) requirements that discourage employers from letting employees keep their plans if they like them, and fundamentally doubled down on a broken health care status quo. We have needed health care reform in this country for years, but the Affordable Care Act simply was not it.
Of course, BJC already has its golden parachute. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear there are enough life-saving devices on the hospital’s plane for all of its employees.