President Obama’s half sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, a professor, called her brother’s signature healthcare law “complicated” when addressing the impact of its regulations on health insurance costs for colleges, universities and students.
Schools including Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College have said they are cutting adjunct professors’ hours to avoid the added cost of covering every full-time employee as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The law requires employers to offer health insurance to their employees who are working 30 hours or more per week.
Since Obamacare also places caps on out-of-pocket costs, some colleges are dropping health coverage for students due to premium increases.
PJ Media asked Soetoro-Ng if she views these issues as negative results of Obamacare.
“I think it’s a complicated law and that it is being worked out in meaningful, powerful and important ways by those who are implementing it as well as those who are governing its implementation from above and afar but I think that it – I’m, you know, very proud of my brother’s administration and the hard work they did in healthcare,” said Soetoro-Ng after an event at the Center for American Progress in Washington.
“I think that it’s doing some very good things and that we will probably see its, you know, the impact of the policy in the years to come and with greater clarity.”
Soetoro-Ng actively campaigned for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. She addressed the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., alongside First Lady Michelle Obama’s brother Craig Robinson. Soetoro-Ng is an education professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
David Hoovler, executive assistant to president of Community College of Allegheny County, said their school preferred to expand coverage for their faculty but it was “simply unaffordable.”
The college ultimately decided to reduce “the workload limit for its temporary, part-time adjuncts from 12 to 10 credits per semester” so they would not be defined as full-time employees under the healthcare law.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the institution has “an annual operating budget of around $109 million, and administrators estimate it would cost at least $6 million to provide health benefits to the 400 part-time temporary employees” who would have to be covered due to the Obamacare requirement.
Richard Mercadante, head of the Faculty Governance Organization at St. Petersburg College, said the “bottom line” for state colleges is “the new law becomes an unfunded mandate.”
He added that the “part-time to full-time ratio is so large that any given college would have to find millions of dollars in their budgets to offer adjuncts health insurance.”