Obamacare: “As Snowboarders Say: Bummer”
The Union Leader reports that in New Hampshire, Obamacare may mean shorter ski seasons for some ski resorts:
Among Obamacare’s myriad negative effects on small businesses could be this: shorter ski seasons in New Hampshire.
At a forum on the Affordable Care Act held last week, Greg Goddard, general manager of Gunstock Ski Resort, said the resort might shorten its season because it cannot afford to offer health insurance to its full-time seasonal employees who work for more than 120 consecutive days, as the law requires.
“We may not be able to open beyond 120 days; it may be Christmas to the middle of March … the summer season may be the fourth of July until Labor Day,” he said.
In addition to shorter ski seasons, many ski resort employees are effectively being priced priced out of health care coverage entirely. They have the option of purchasing plans on the exchange, but many cannot afford these new plans because of Obamacare’s benefits requirements:
In February, Colorado Insurance Commissioner Margeurite Salazar came under fire for approving Obamacare exchange plans that gave Colorado resort towns the most expensive rates in the country. She acknowledged to Kaiser Health News that resort employees “were hoping that the ACA would be able to provide some kind of affordable coverage for them, but in fact there’s a whole group of people … finding themselves priced out.”
The Union Leader article sums up NH residents’ probable sentiments about this development: “As snowboarders say: bummer.”
Presumably, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 2% and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) 27%, and the rest of the New Hampshire delegation, would take the plight of New Hampshire residents seriously. After all, the skiing industry is an important part of New Hampshire’s economy. A study released in February of 2014 demonstrates:
Ski NH, the statewide association representing 33 downhill and cross country resorts and more than 200 lodging properties in New Hampshire, has officially released its 2012-13 economic impact study, highlighting the ski industry’s significant contribution to the state’s economy. The study shows 3.26 million winter and summer visitors came to New Hampshire’s ski resorts, resulting in an all-time high of $1.15 billion in direct and secondary sales for the 2012-13 season, up from the $910 million reported in the most recent economic impact study of the 2009-10 season. These numbers place New Hampshire fourth nationally in terms of state ski revenue per capita.
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