Will journalists get to keep their healthcare?
The newspaper industry continuously crumbles due to the onslaught of divergent, free news sources and dwindling advertising revenues. As a result, many companies, including my former one, Gannett, look for ways to cut costs. These methods include cutting down on the physical sizes of the actual newspapers (less paper, less ink, more savings); furloughing employees (which happened to me a few times); or through layoffs — thousands of them. I was able to leave my newspaper on my own terms after 12 years of gainful employment. Others weren’t so fortunate. I saw many friends — good, solid journalists — laid off.
This leads me to Obamacare, and President Obama’s claim that if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.
If you’re a journalist working for a newspaper corporation that is hemorrhaging money, I’m not so sure. My former company laid off 700 people in 2011. That was preceded by the elimination of 1,400 jobs in 2009. Gannett, like most other large companies, provides health insurance to its employees. In the face of continued revenue declines, I wonder what Gannett and companies like it might do in 2014 to cut costs. If faced with the decision of laying off more employees or saving money by not insuring them and paying a smaller fine, would they opt to dump their health care and push those workers into one of the Obamacare exchanges?
Who knows? But if there’s one industry that might conceivably do it, it’s the newspaper business. Employees impacted by such a decision likely will be told it’s the only way they’ll be able to keep their jobs (for now).
I speak from experience when I say that newspaper employees (reporters, editors, photographers) don’t make much money. And unless they’re 26-year-old children on a parent’s plan or have spouses whose companies provides health insurance, those journalists will have to buy their own health care. Trust me, they won’t be able to afford it and likely will be eligible for a government subsidy and not be subject to the Obamacare Tax.
Even if the tax doesn’t apply to these folks, is this the society we want? I don’t. Not when we’re $16 trillion in debt — debt that doesn’t include trillions of dollars of unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities. It’s amazing that people deliberately choose not to see this.