no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Health Care Reform Rains on Ski Resorts

April 5th, 2010

There’s going to be a lot of fallout from the health care “reform” that’s recently been forced upon America. For starters, certain plans (i.e., high deductible or catastrophic plans) will be de jure illegal — even though most people who buy these plans do so with eyes wide open and with the financial wherewithal to deal with all but the most catastrophic perils. And it’s going to cause a lot of disruptions for a lot of industries, who are already spending millions of dollars on lobbyists (to fight the laws), lawyers (to analyze and make recommendations) and consultants (for advice on how to deal with the changes).

The snow sports/resorts industry hasn’t been spared, either, according to Vail Daily:

New federal health care reform could cost Vail Resorts and other ski companies a lot of money in 2014, the year a provision goes into effect that fines employers $2,000 for every employee that works more than 120 days per year and isn’t offered health care coverage…

Ski areas often employee seasonal, part-time workers who, under the new law, would qualify for employer heath care coverage even though the employees are not considered full-time employees.

— Vail Resorts Eyes Health Reform Costs (April 2, 2010)

I don’t even know where to begin with this. Of course everyone should be “offered health care coverage” but that kind of misses the mark. Health care reform isn’t asking employers to “offer” health care, it’s requiring that they provide health care. There’s a difference here.

I’ve said it before, that the biggest problem with “health care” in the U.S. is that it is essentially tied to one’s employment, and furthermore that those who happen to be employed receive health care on favorable terms compared to the unemployed or the self-employed due to the unintended consequences of World War II-era price controls, embodied in a tax code which treats employer-provided health care “benefits” differently than personal health care expenditures.

Nothing in the so-called health care “reform” (which was drafted primarily by the health care industry) does anything to address the source of the problem. Requiring people to buy a product from an oligopoly will only solidify their power.

So what will happen if this “reform” really does require resorts to offer provide health care to their seasonal, part-time workers?

Those $90 lift tickets are going to get a bit more expensive, and it’s likely that some people currently employed will become unemployed as the marginal costs of employing them exceeds their value-add. If you’re currently working for $10 an hour and you work 1,000 hours a winter, you’re costing the company $10,000. If, next year, the company has to provide you with $3,000 worth of health care, that’s like giving you a 30% raise. What will happen is that they’ll pay you $7/hour, or they’ll do without you, because nobody, anywhere, ever, gets a 30% raise without sucking serious CEO dick and then blackmailing him for it.

Any political measure which forcibly raises the costs of doing business will be passed on to individual taxpayers. Taxes are (always and everywhere) borne by individuals, and not by “corporations”. These costs may be borne as reduced profits/dividends for shareholders, reduced wages, hours or other benefits for employees, and last-but-not-least, as higher prices for customers.

The end result is that we all suffer, while the force of law underwrites the insurance companies’ profitability.




no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics