‘Free’ costs quite a bit these days

Here’s the thing – I am in fervent opposition of the Affordable Care Act. Not because it’s the thing to do as a “good” conservative, or because I get giddy at the possibility of hoarding more of my millions as a heartless Republican scrooge.

No, I strongly disagree with this bit of legislation for many reasons, such as the principle of the law and the shady and deceitful air surrounding its nature. However, I am here today to argue from a different perspective: the local economy.

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Now, I understand that businesses are largely viewed as the devil incarnate, out to rob the masses and make malicious profits. I do acknowledge the unfortunate lack of ethics that at times rears its ugly head in the corporate world, but I would like to zoom in and make this discussion a bit more personal. Being a Fort Collins native, I take pride in the community here that has been founded in a rich sense of entrepreneurial ambition as seen in businesses such as Otterbox and New Belgium.

These companies as well as others have provided quite the backbone for our local economy. Jobs have been created and many have avoided being consumed by the recent recession through the existence of small businesses. In fact, small businesses account for roughly 95 percent of all employment firms within the private sector. Without a doubt, these companies that are classified as “small” by having less than 100 employees are a huge part of the U.S. economy. However, these smaller local businesses are being choked out by the new federal law requirements associated with the Affordable Care Act

Imagine this: a small business owner who is among many firms who employ above 50 people. As mandated by the Affordable Care Act, all small businesses who employ above this line are required by law to provide health care for their staff, or else face a $2,000 per employee continual fine. The owner cannot feasibly afford this, and must regrettably fire many of his staff, including those who are the sole provider for their family, who are now jobless.

This is one of many real examples of what is currently happening in Fort Collins, this state, and the entire country. Is it fair for a hard working, full time member of an organization to lose their job because their employer would go out of business if they kept that employee? Is it fair that this is happening while many people who aren’t even in the workforce are receiving healthcare benefits for “free,” while many who contribute their share are losing money, and even their jobs?

Now let’s think about this as students. As you all have probably been made aware, CSU is now required to verify that all students are covered by either their in-house healthcare service, or a third party provider. This is forcing many students, who have previously chosen to refrain from paying for health insurance, to spend a good chunk of their hard earned and, at least for me, scarce cash on healthcare.

For many, this places a heavy burden on an already financially trying stage of life. Students across the country as well as here at Colorado State are now foregoing educational necessities such as books just so that they can afford this newly required healthcare premium. Is this really proving to be a benefit to those who are strapped for resources the way it is?

There is no such thing as “free.” The notion of free goods in an economy is a myth, and a lie that is being passed down by the Obama administration. Healthcare is a privilege, not a right. Someone is paying, and paying a lot for it.

The small business that has to shut down because of a lack of funds to pay for the increased taxes and stipends for providing healthcare to their employees is paying. The newly unemployed father and provider for his family, who now worries how they will make their next mortgage payment, is paying. And we as students, those who will be thrust in the workforce soon and will have trouble finding full time jobs because firms are decreasing the maximum hour allotment per week to 30 in order to avoid increased and unaffordable healthcare expenditures, will pay.

Please, the next time you think how great it will be to receive this now public service, think about those who pay. Consider the side effects that “free” has on your community, as well as your own future.

Nathan Bush is a junior business administration major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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