Obamacare a Huge Boon … For Temp Staffing Companies



There is no law or regulation so well thought out and iron-clad that desperate business owners trying to make a living can't figure out some way to soften the costs and burdens it imposes on them. When you're talking about Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act, there are lots of intrusive rules to consider — but a major concern for employers has been the mandate that companies with at least 50 employees must offer "affordable" health coverage or else cought up a penalty. That's potentially a major expense for companies, since Obamacare also seems to be driving an increase in health care costs. The solution to that dilemma … Well, let me quote an Investors Business Daily story from last week, noting that "[t]he bullish outlook for staffing firms is reflected in their current stock prices. The 20 stocks in IBD's Commercial Services-Staffing group are trading at a five-year high. The group's value has risen about 40% over the last four months." In fact, that stock market vote of confidence seems based, at least in part, on the fact that temp workers aren't included in the law's mandated coverage.

Writes Jay Hancock at the Washington Post:

The health-care law could prove to be a boon for temporary-staffing companies as employers outsource jobs to sidestep complex requirements for medical insurance.

But some experts say the Affordable Care Act's exceptions for temporary employees could undercut the goal of expanding coverage to more American workers.

"That could lead to an increase in part-time workers" who lack insurance, said Susan N. Houseman, an economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research who studies staffing companies. "You regulate something and people will always try to find a way around the regulation."

Starting in January, employers with at least 50 workers must offer affordable coverage or pay a penalty. To stay under this limit, some are considering outsourcing jobs to specialists such as Kelly Services, Manpower, Robert Half and Randstad, whose stock prices have soared.

"We are already getting inquiries from our client base for companies in and around 50 [employees], asking us to help them understand this legislation, and to inquire as to how we might be helpful," M. Keith Waddell, Robert Half's president, told investors on a conference call a few weeks ago. "Our response is that we can legally help them remain under 50."

This is not a unique development, by the way. In parts of Europe where labor regulation is especially onerous, temp workers have become the norm, laboring month to month with minimal pay and benefits, because hiring them full-time would bind employers to expensive long-term — even life-long — commitments. In Spain, such workers are traditionally called mileuristas for the 1,000 euros they earn per month. In 2011, NPR reported on just this issue:

Spain has a two-tiered labor system. Workers have either temporary contracts or jobs for life. It's a key issue in national elections Nov. 20. But it's also the third rail of Spanish politics, where unions are powerful, Allard says.

"When somebody talks about labor-market reform, they think they want to turn the market into something like the U.S. market," she says. "But what they don't realize is that they've got 30 percent of their workers with no job security whatsoever, in really inferior conditions, so that the others can enjoy the kind of job security that they have."

Thank you, President Obama, for driving growth in at least one industry. In the future, we may all be temps. But next time you want to bring a little bit of the European lifestyle to the United States, may I suggest tailored suits and paella?

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  1. I found American.


    1. Read the comments.

      1. This is amazing. I hope it’s satire and not American:

        One of the reasons for this problem is that persons of color often see science as a “white” thing, not relevant to them or their experiences. This is why it’s not enough just to have science articles, we need more black science reporters, and they need to cover subjects relevant to the African American experience. Here are some ideas for articles that black Americans might find interesting:
        -An article explaining the affects of crack-cocaine on the human mind.
        -An article explaining how to make homemade gunpowder and weapons to help empower young men to fight racist police departments.
        -An article explaining the biological processes that take place after someone is shot.
        -An article that uses advanced statistics to help young entrepreneurs of color better plan their house robbing to avoid capture by the police.
        -An article that explains the workings of electric fences outside prisons, and how to disable them.
        -An article about how chemical processes can be utilized to make better prison-shanks.
        -An article about how to improve safety procedures in meth labs.

        1. An article about how to improve safety procedures in meth labs.

          Meth labs are a white people t hing.

          1. Tell that to North Koreer.

      2. I also love the tacit racism of some supposed sophisticates: My college was about 10% minoirty(not included Asians, of course), although the physics department, where I majored, had two minorities.

        Of course!!!

        1. What the fuck? My chemical engineering cohort was 20% black and 40% hispanic. Although one of our 3 Asians was actually Panamanian-Chinese, so I’m double counting her.

        2. not included Asians, of course


      3. Is he posting under many names or is Scientific American a racist magnet?

        1. Obviously he thought that since his old reason handle was in the name of the magazine/ website that it was an invitation for him. Plus, he assumed that “Scientific American” meant that it was a website that specializes in using science to back up his fucked up racist opinions.

    2. Wow, this is actually the author: http://blogs.scientificamerica…..00×255.jpg

      1. And don’t let the science in the webstie fool you, there is absolutely nothing scientific about half of her articles, and the other articles are mainly about how there aren’t enough black scientists.

    3. So, she complains that black media outlets don’t report on STEM.

      …why would they?

    4. What amazes me is that those comments haven’t been deleted yet. It’s diffidently American, and he seemed to have been already banned once on that site as well.

    5. Scientific American does have some genuinely fascinating stories about science, but they can’t help themselves but write political trash. The straw that broke my subscription was an issue about the decline of humanity and the gloomy realization that knowledge is imperfect.

    6. Unfortunately, the this “fair-and-balanced” reporting leads readers to believe that there is a genuine controversy in the scientific community and one side is as credible as the other.

      Translation: “I hate it when people are presented with both sides of a controversial issue. As everyone knows, science is totally about consensus and anyone who disagrees with me about certain theories are obviously wrong.”

  2. I once saw a Tom Tomorrow cartoon which denounced the evil corporations for the fact that the allegedly biggest employer (or was it fastest-growing employer?) in the country was a temp agency. Take *that,* naive supporters of the free market!

  3. Has anyone deigned to look at the WaPo’s comments? I wonder how many are calling for a ban on temp agencies or how many want to criminalize the avoidance of Obamacare.

    1. we must create new laws to stop the loopholes that the original law started. Ad infinitum.

      1. I figured as much. I can’t look at WaPo or NYT comments any longer because they are so absurd and extreme.

      2. Big fleas have little fleas, Upon their backs to bite ’em, And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, ad infinitum

      3. we must create new laws to stop the loopholes that the original law started. Ad infinitum.

        Yup. And the logical conclusion is totalitarianism.

    2. Mostly they are calling for single payer so “businesses can concentrate on doing business” because you know they are all such big capitalists over there.

      1. *sigh* I lament the property ownership requirements to voter eligibility.

      2. I wonder how many of them know how businesses ended up providing insurance in the first place. Probably not many.

  4. In fall ’10 I wrote a paper for school that was supposed to predict “the future of consulting” (“in the United State” was implied).

    I said that the ACA would be a boon to consultants.

    What a genius am I! Quick, somebody pay me to be an “analyst”!

    1. That’s how I make my living. Water districts cant spend $15 million dollars on a population of 5,000 people without someone telling them how to spend it.

  5. There is no law or regulation so well thought out and iron-clad that desperate business owners trying to make a living can’t figure out some way to soften the costs and burdens it imposes on them

    The things that liberals and politicians and Beltway media don’t ever understand is that the rest of us are smarter than you. If we don’t want to give you more of our money, we’ll find a legal way around it–crowdsourcing solutions to idiotic regulations or laws is pretty easy.

    1. One of the things that good IT companies figured out a long time ago that Government still hasn’t caught on to is you cannot write “fool proof” code because nature can always create a bigger/better fool so your best bet is to KISS (keep it simple stupid) and have as many built in failure routines as possible so that when someone inevitably breaks the rules the system fails gracefully

  6. Paella – blech! Spain’s least interesting and delicious food.

    1. If it is done well, they are good. I love squid and rice, so I am biased.

    2. I could eat “rice dish with garlic and some kind of protein and sauce” every day for the rest of my life.


      1. Too easy. Fucking carbs.

        1. You probably prefer arroz negro as well. You carb people are all a bunch of degenerates.

          1. But when degeneracy is so delicious…

          2. You carb people are all a bunch of degenerates.

            What about that time I found you naked with that bowl of Jell-O?

            1. It was hot and I was hungry

        2. How about gambas al ajillo sopped up with a nice fresh crusty bread?


          DAMN YOU CARBS

    3. While you are correct, when done well it’s pretty good. But yeah, I’d still rather have jamon and white anchovies and fried squid instead.

      1. Now you’re talking!

        If I didn’t like Jose Andreas’s paella, somehow I doubt I’d like anyone else’s.

        1. Smoked meat and sausage.

      2. Yeah, that is probably the best thing you could eat. Maybe some nice Manchego to go with it. But paella can be pretty damn good if done properly.

    4. Jamon Iberico. End of discussion.

    5. So, so wrong. But I grew up on it.

  7. This suprises anyone with a 2 digit or higher IQ? REALLY?
    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I could be persuaded that this is exactly what the Obamabots want. “We passed this glorious law and the EVIL CORPORATIONS found a way to thwart our nobel goals. So, we’ll just take over the whole health care field and have a one payer system.”
    TAA DAA!! Problem solved, welcome to United Socialist States of America, Barack Obama, President for Life!!

    1. No. They are just that stupid. They had no idea this was going to happen.

      1. ^This.

        You have to understand, “finding a loophole” in a law or regulation is a problem-solving exercise.

        If you’ve never solved a problem in your life (I mean really solved one, using resources and tools other than “Order people to do stuff at the point of a gun”) you can’t anticipate the actions of people who have. You literally can’t imagine it.

        Remember the story in the Haiti thread about the Haiti cops who couldn’t see how they could easily fix their broken desk with two cinderblocks? Those guys wrote this law.

        1. You literally can’t imagine it.

          Like Tony?

        2. These are the same people who have no idea that raising the minimum wage could cause unemployment or that passing a law making it easier for disabled people to sue their employers would discourage employers from hiring the disabled.

          1. How dare you insult their intentions by pointing out the results!

    2. This is exactly what they want. And when they get it and it fails gloriously, they will argue that it wasn’t one-payor enough.

      1. Those greedy capitalists ruined Obamacare in their endless search for profits. Single payer is the only solution.

        1. Who are they going to blame after that? Unrealistic patients?

          1. Blame? Once they get single payer they’ll stop blaming.

            1. So they’ll go the way of the war protestors once King O took office, despite how medical care goes to hell?

              1. It’s not about medical care.

                It’s a moral issue.

                Capitalists profit off of health care. That means rich people are getting richer off of poor people getting sick. It’s unfair. It’s immoral.

                That’s why government should be in charge completely. Government doesn’t waste money on profits. That means that the money that would have gone to the rich person can be used for more medical care.

                This of course ignores the fact that government is the model of inefficiency due to the lack of profit motive, but good luck explaining that to someone who has an emotional reaction to the word “profit.”

                1. It might be a moral issue to them, but that doesn’t change that medical care is almost certainly going to go to hell. Once it does, they can either blame someone or ignore it. They’ll probably try to ignore it, but that seems unlikely to work.

                  1. Oh, it’s sure to go to hell. But they won’t care.
                    They’d rather have shared poverty than have rich people to envy.

                    you: “Remember the days when medical care wasn’t a joke?”

                    them: “You mean when rich people were profiting off of poor sick people? Yeah. I remember. It was disgusting.”

                    1. yeah except medical care for rich people won’t go to hell and people will still profit off of it.

                      If you really want to get rich, start a medical tourism company

      2. They’re already arguing it. The comments to the WaPo article is replete with cries of “this is why we need single payer”

        1. Ok. So they get a single payor. *Who* wil they be paying to perform medical care? Corporations! So under single payor, the result will be that the government takes your tax dollars and then pays the hospital, drug company, medical lab, doctor, etc.

          Will the hospital be government owned or privately owned? Will the doctor be a government employee or private? These are the facts they are not facing! Unless all medicine is practiced by state employees, every person practicing medicine has a profit motive. So costs will still go up as each supplier seeks more and more profits. Healthcare is a tax, a burden on society. Not a wealth creator. I cannot fathom how the Left with all their liberal arts sophistry cannot connect all the dots to the end.

          *storms off*

    3. I don’t know how this will play out. The group with the best medical insurance coverage now is government employees, team blue’s base. Are government employees going to settle for the same mediocre medical coverage as private sector employees and the unemployed? That’s what single-payer would do, I presume.

      1. You presume wrong. They’ll write an exception into the law for government employees and probably union members as well so that they’ll be able to keep their current bennies. The rest of us proles will have to make do with something akin to the VA system.

    4. Hey wait, don’t Kelly Services and Robert Half and the like have over 50 employees?

      1. They’ll probably just eat the penalty.

      2. Yes, but they have for ages. They’ve spent the last 3 years getting a handle on this since they both had the resources to do so and couldn’t avoid it regardless.

      3. I used to work at robert half. They will simply limit the hours of their temps so that they do not meet the threshold. Not only a temp, but a reduced hour temp! liberalism at work

    5. Shifting people to temp agencies is another way to promote “job sharing”.

      Employment gets spread to more people, making it less efficient, requiring a little bit more labor.

  8. First, let’s get some terminology right. There is no such thing as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There is the Temp Job Protection and Unaffordable Care Act.

    Second, I heard Steve Moore say that the last jobs report, which boasted over 300k new jobs or something like that, had a lot of temp jobs in it. Two temp jobs would make the jobs report look good.

  9. may I suggest tailored suits and paella?

    Mmmm…tailored suits.

    All of these outcomes and workarounds are so obvious that destruction of the system leading to single-payer can be the only reason for this shitty law. I love the liberals that still believe this is just supposed to get coverage for more people, as if that will even happen. When pressed, though, they see little wrong with the government just accumulating more power, because their desires are just.

  10. Gee, I wonder why job growth in this recovery has been so sluggish… Small companies not wanting to add the 50th worker perhaps?

  11. Thank you, President Obama, for driving growth in at least one industry.

    Hey you stupid rethuglicans, stop jipping Bammy credit for stimulating gun sales.

  12. When somebody talks about labor-market reform, they think they want to turn the market into something like the U.S. market,” she says. “But what they don’t realize is that they’ve got 30 percent of their workers with no job security whatsoever, in really inferior conditions, so that the others can enjoy the kind of job security that they have.”

    Market failure! Market failure!

  13. So we will have less people insured and less full-time workers . . . at least we finally know what ACA was really about.

  14. Still looking for a way to stay home? I have the answer! My Power Mall is totally different! It’s FREE, you don’t have to sell anything, there is no qualifying for income, and all your tools are free. Here is your chance to finally succeed!!! http://phlpn.es/8z9y4g

  15. “That could lead to an increase in part-time workers” who lack insurance, said Susan N. Houseman, an economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research who studies staffing companies. “You regulate something and people will always try to find a way around the regulation.”

    A planet where rational actors evolved from men?

  16. Looks like a pretty cool place to be dude.


  17. There is no law or regulation so well thought out and iron-clad

    And not one single R.C. Dean allusion? W-T-F?

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