Sure the Affordable Care Act state-based health insurance exchanges won’t be ready in a mere five days. Of course it’s impossible to know how we’re going to ever afford to administer a national health care system that relies on the selfless cooperation of individual citizens without the interference of a state- or community-level governing body. Sure the slush fund established for Obamacare implementation is already missing $67 million dollars and the law hasn’t even gone into effect yet. But hey, everything’s still hunky dory, right?
Well, let’s just say, all is not well on at least one urban residential street in America. While Big Bird may have been able to duck his inevitable demise at the hands of another Sesame Street puppet, Mitt Romney, it seems that either Presidential option was going to have a detrimental affect on his sunny days.
Yes, America, Big Bird is about to lose his health insurance under Obamacare. Or, at least, at least the guy who walks around in the Big Bird suit at Sesame Place is.
Last year, Big Bird’s job security was thrust into the political spotlight.
This year, it’s his health insurance.
In a letter sent last week to President Obama, U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick contended that the Affordable Care Act had caused Sesame Place, one of Bucks County’s biggest tourist attractions, to terminate health benefits for its part-time employees.
“This law is hurting real people in my district and around the country,” the Bucks County Republican wrote.
A spokesman for SeaWorld, the amusement park’s parent company, confirmed Wednesday that the company was cutting the weekly work limit for part-time employees from 32 to 28 hours. Under the Affordable Care Act, companies can face fines if they do not provide insurance for staffers who work at least 30 hours per week.
Fred Jacobs, the SeaWorld spokesman, did not say whether the change in policy had been prompted by the health-care law.
Apparently, the company SeaWorld uses to provide health insurance for its employees, Starbridge Limited Medical, does not comply with the minimum coverage level mandated by the Affordable Care Act, so instead of expanding their coverage to include the new mandates, SeaWorld is going to let its employees “choose their own coverage,” selecting it from the state’s health insurance exchange whenever that’s ready. There is, of course, no guarantee that the insurance will be cheaper, but that’s not SeaWorld’s problem.
Until then, Big Bird’s just going to have to make the same hard decisions all Americans will: that is, whether to fall into what could be a pricey nationally-acceptable insurance plan, or go without health insurance, hoping that anyone who might cause an accident will at least be able to see a ten foot bird from afar.