There has been so much political jockeying about the so called Affordable Care Act that it’s hard to decipher what’s real and what’s not. Both sides of the political aisle do a great job of spinning the stories to meet their agenda without really talking about the impact on real workers.
Having been born and raised in the Metro Detroit area, I have seen the economy here swing to both high and low extremes. My parents were both blue collar workers until they retired, spending much of their careers within the automotive industry. One of the key issues they have had to deal with over the last 40 years was the cost of health care. Every year their premiums increased and coverage seemed to decrease.
Playing on similar stories like these, Obamacare swooped in with a promise of lowering health care costs without causing any major disruptions for employers and employees. Who wouldn’t want lower costs – maybe employers in Detroit can use these promised savings to increase compensation here in the Detroit marketplace.
In metro Detroit, the economy was built on the backs of middle class workers who helped create and maintain the auto industry. We hit hard times in 2008 and have again been resilient in clawing back. Health care costs have always been a concern here, and Obamacare was supposed to help these same people that at one point made Detroit and Southeastern Michigan the place to be.
Now, let’s look at what is really happening through a situation I recently came across. I have the good fortune of traveling across the globe to speak on issues of employment and recruitment. As a result, I spend a fair amount if time at our beautifully built airport. As a major hub for Delta Airlines, I have been flying with them for more than a decade. Since I am often running late to my flight I take advantage of the valet service provided at the McNamara terminal.
As with many frequent fliers, you often get to know those employed at the airport in various capacities. In my case, two of the attendants that work for the company that handles valet parking have been parking my cars for almost five years. These two in particular are just wonderful. Always having a smile on their faces, always remembering your name, always taking extra time to grab my luggage and wheel it into the check-in area, these guys are a great example of what was known as the pride of Detroit.
Last week when returned from a few-day trip, I was greeted again by both of these attendants with smiles and a helpful attitude. As usual they asked when I was returning to the airport. When I told them I would be returning the following Tuesday, they proceeded to tell me that they would not see me again. They explained that due to Obamacare the company they worked for was terminating all full-time parking attendants and moving to part-time employees because they cannot afford health care!
Here are two guys working to take care of their families, showing the Detroit work ethic that once made us a leading economy, and with one swoop this Affordable Care Act ruined their dreams. If they don’t have jobs, they don’t buy from local stores, those local stores have less revenue, more people get laid off and the cycle repeats itself.
If we keep killing jobs in this market we will keep killing our economy. If we keep killing our economy we won’t be able to keep our college graduates in the state and we sure won’t be able to attract the talent we need to the state. These guys that have been parking cars are part of the foundation of any thriving city and Obamare has failed to live up to the promise of not effecting jobs – it just happened here in our background and these hard workers deserve better.