In my last post, I asked this question: "If [employer-provided] health insurance grew as a benefit because there were more jobs than workers, what can we expect when there are more workers than jobs?" Well, I think we have an answer, and it isn't a happy one.
Take a look at this article from Associated Press, picked by the Huffington Post: "Darden Restaurants Tests Hiring Of More Part-Time Employees To Avoid Obamacare Costs." Darden Restaurants, Inc., best known as owners of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, is making a deliberate choice to reduce its costs for employer-provided health care by reducing the number of employees who work enough hours to qualify. The authors of the article also note that other restaurant chains are making the same decision.
Now, there's nothing illegal about this. I think it's immoral, but in one sense that's neither here nor there (and, in the classic trilogy, I would worry about "fattening," but that's for another time). I simply hold this up as the other side of depending on the market and competition to provide access to health care. If we believe that universal access to health care is a good thing, and should be seen as a civil right, we simply can't depend on the market and competition to bring it about.