Remember how the boobs in Congress who inflicted ObamaCare on us freaked out when they finally realized how it would affect them, and began demanding the kind of exemptions that every private business in America would kill for? Something similar is happening to President Obama’s devoted supporters in Hollywood, as related by the Hollywood Reporter:
“It’s a morass of regulations and requirements, and everyone’s trying to figure out what their exposure is,” says Eric Belcher, president and CEO of Cast & Crew Entertainment Services. Adds Mark Goldstein, CEO of Entertainment Partners, which has held 16 seminars to help studios understand ACA: “It’s going to be a very big deal.”
Determining the exact nature of the new laws has been difficult, given that many ACA terms have yet to be worked out. Hollywood productions, for instance, might find it irksome simply trying to categorize employees as full- or part-time, seasonal or variable, and it’s important that they get the classifications right lest they face hefty fines. “ACA is thousands of pages, and it wasn’t written with this industry in mind,” says Belcher.
Oh, it wasn’t written with this industry in mind? But all the others are handling it just fine, are they?
Guess what Hollywood could end up doing to escape from these expensive mandates. I’ll give you a hint: it’s something Barack Obama and other liberals go nuts over, when any other industry does it.
One of the unintended consequences, say some industry insiders, is that it could lead to productions running to foreign countries, given that ACA doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens working abroad. Some also say the number of production days in the U.S. are likely to be cut due to ACA because there’s a 90-day waiting period before productions must either pay a penalty or offer health insurance to full-time workers. That rule provides big incentives for a production to wrap in less than three months. While big-budget movies and season-long TV shows might not have such a luxury, smaller films or TV pilots could easily rush their schedules to make sure they come in at under 90 days.
But like much about ACA, the 90-day rule is subject to interpretation, says Daniel Cox, controller of payroll-services company PES Payroll. “Historically, if an employer had a 90-day wait period,” says Cox, “the benefits would kick in on the first day of the fourth full month of employment. Thus, that 90-day wait period was, in reality, as long as 119 days. The ACA is unclear on this. Does 90 days mean 90 days? If so, it really means 60 days.”
Too bad Congress didn’t read ObamaCare before ramming it down our throats. They might have realized how much of it was “unclear.”
One reason Hollywood is choking on this legislation is that it doesn’t treat its nonunion employees very well. (Pretty much every business practice liberals scream about – from tax evasion, to rent-seeking, to corporate raiding, to shabby treatment of low-level workers – is commonplace in their second favorite Big Business. Come to think of it, you’ll find a lot of that stuff in their favorite Big Business, the abortion industry, as well.) But now ObamaCare would force them to stop offering superior benefits to higher-level employees, unless they do what many other industries are contemplating, and pay the trans-Constitutional tax/penalty to escape:
The mandate dictates that full-time employees be offered insurance that is “affordable,” defined as not more than 9.5 percent of an employee’s household income. The insurance must also be “adequate,” meaning it covers at least 60 percent of health care costs incurred. Also, Cox says, “no more discrimination among employee levels, no more negotiated benefits,” so if a production pays $1,000 a month to subsidize insurance for a top production worker, it must pay that much for its lowest employees as well. If a production deems it too costly to meet the guidelines, it can opt instead to pay a penalty tax of $166.67 per month for each full-time employee, with the exception of the first 30 of them. In some cases, “the penalty option may be the cheaper alternative,” says the Entertainment Partners report.
“Do I expect the cost of doing business to go up? Yes, I do,” says Mike Rose, CEO of Ease Entertainment Services.
Gosh, I can’t imagine why GDP is flat-lining and unemployment remains stuck at recessionary levels for year after year, what with everyone’s cost of business going up and all.
Speaking of unemployment, there’s something else a company can do to escape from ObamaCare, and the movie theater industry is already doing it: get rid of full-time employees. The Hollywood Reporter notes that film productions might have difficult following suit, because “productions on tight schedules and in need of highly-skilled workers and artists don’t usually have the luxury of micromanaging an employee’s hours.” But on the front end, at your local cineplex, the entertainment industry is joining the great ObamaCare-inspired workforce migration to Part-Time America, accurately predicted by every critic of this disastrous legislation since the moment of its inception.
Ironically, while all this is going on behind the scenes, the Administration is working hard to recruit Hollywood stars to push ObamaCare propaganda on a nation that has never stopped hating the law. So you’ll have the big millionaire marquee names telling you how great this train wreck is, while behind the scenes the little people who make .01 percent of their salary are getting crushed by reduced hours, higher premiums, and the dissolution of the insurance plans President Obama swore they would be able to keep. In other words, business as usual for Hollywood.