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Republicans Target Obamacare ‘30-Hour’ Rule

Obamacare supporters argue that changing the employer mandate to 40-hour workers will widen the pool of employees vulnerable to hour cuts.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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February 5, 2014 - 10:48 pm
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WASHINGTON – In advance of a Congressional Budget Office report warning of lost jobs because of employer mandates, House Republicans warned last week that the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time work as 30 hours or more per week is already forcing employers to cut worker hours.

Beginning in 2015, U.S. businesses with 50 or more workers must provide health insurance to full-time workers or pay a fine.

Republicans argue that the employer mandate’s designation of 30-hour-per-week workers as full-time employees has led to reductions in worker hours by companies who cannot afford to provide them with insurance.

“The 30-hour rule in the health care law is forcing employers to make the tough decision of cutting hours and workers, and preventing them from growing their businesses,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.).

Camp said he would prefer to repeal the ACA entirely, but “that cannot and should not deter us from looking at specific pieces of the law.”

“The people hit the hardest by the law are not bankers, lawyers and doctors,” he said. “They are the single mothers working a restaurant job, the college students paying for their own education by working at the local grocery store, or the firefighters living down the street.”

Camp said he hoped Congress could “move past the denials this law does not affect jobs.”

“Both parties should be able to come together to ensure that we remove barriers to job growth and wage increases,” he said.

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), however, said the hearing was nothing more than another attempt by Republicans to undermine the health law.

Supporters of the rule dispute its negative effects and argue that changing the standard to 40 hours per week will widen the pool of workers vulnerable to hour cuts. They also argue that changing the definition of full-time work could raise the overall cost of the ACA.

“The bottom line effect of changing the full time threshold to 40 hours would be to place many more workers at risk of having their hours cut,” Helen Levy, an associate professor at the University of Michigan, told the committee. “This change would also increase federal spending on Medicaid and premium tax credits.”

Levy said that about three to five times as many workers could potentially have their hours cut by employers looking to avoid providing insurance if the definition of full time were raised to 40 hours a week.

Lanhee Chen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, countered that reducing hours causes greater economic hardship for those working 30 hours a week.

Chen cited a study that indicated that 2.6 million people would be vulnerable to reduced worker hours, mainly women, young Americans, and people without a college degree.

Levy said this concern has been overstated, noting the experience of Hawaii.

Hawaii has required employers of all sizes since the 1970s to provide coverage to employees who work 20 hours or more per week. She said a recent study determined that this requirement has had no impact on overall employment in Hawaii and has caused a small increase in part-time work.

The committee also heard from retail, hospitality services, and community college representatives about the higher costs and difficulty of implementing the requirement.

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Top Rated Comments   
Just REPEAL this God-awful monstrosity, and then retire the morons who thought it up.

The healthcare system would heal itself in about 12 months.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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"Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), however, said the hearing was nothing more than another attempt by Republicans to undermine the health law."
Will someone tell this, ahem, individual that a law that has needed to be modified by ukase on an ongoing basis IS undermined by it's own uselessness.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Obama needs to do to fix this is define full time work as 20 hours a week or more.
It HAS to work, right?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Repeal the ACA. The reason they won't is because the RINOs in Congress love it because it provides them with more taxes and more power.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
What? How many times do you think the Rep need to try to repeal ocare. It is the Dems that have stop it each time, namely Reid.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are at the start of the destruction of the best Health Care System in the entire world.... and all because we were to stupid to find the best rules for State Regulation and make them common across the Nation.....
This is truly the solution to this National problem, it left the door open for the Communists among us to insert this wedge and divide us like a piece of firewood.
Wake up Congress -- especially the House of Reps.... get to work on making a set of common rules for all States to adopt so the Health Care we had can carry across all State lines... This is not a hard problem, but ObamaCare is a nightmare and will bankrupt all insurance companies and then we will be exactly where the Administration really wants us to be -- A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM UNDER THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT....
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
First, you have it backwards. Constitutionally, the Fed have zero authority to tell the states what to do about healthcare nor the majority of what they do in DC. Read the Constitution, you will find a very small number of enumerated powers given to the Fed by the states We the people became very lax/lazy and allowed the Fed to run amuck, We the people must reign in the Fed.

Indeed, All laws written by the Fed that exceed the enumerated powers given by the states are unconstitutional.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Question to those wishing to repeal Obamacare. If it were repealed tomorrow, what do you think would happen to those with chronic illnesses like diabetics? If the insurance already dropped them because of the ACA, you wouldn't expect them to pick those back up. Our government pretty much made sure that those people will be screwed over. Don't get me wrong, I do not support Obamacare.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know several diabetics and they all had insurance before the ACA.

For many diabetics, how about a little PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY like watching their diet? Why should I have to pay for someone who does not care enough about their own body to take care of it?

The ACA adds hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that we ALL have to pay for. Those taxes do nothing but add to the burdensome cost of healthcare. This monstrosity needs to be repealed.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Part of the repeal should be letting insurance be insurance again. If human medical costs were similar to veterinarian costs (where you have to foot the bill yourself). Your insulin would cost about $30 a month, and your doctor visit would be about $35.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two words: common sense.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
One aspect of reducing a worker’s hours from 40 to 30 that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere, is the fact that doing so equates to a 25% reduction in his or her income. Most people have figured out what to do with 100% of their paychecks, and I imagine many hourly employees are not been running around with a 25% buffer of discretionary money. The point is, people, especially in this economy, can’t go looking for another job that employs them for 10 hours per week to close the gap, and many people do not have the time to work a 30 hour per week job plus, say, a different 20 hour per week job. Net result is Obamacare has given them a very swift pay cut that will cause even more stress on the system.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's more than a 25% reduction in discretionary money - once you deduct the cost of living, that is where you factor in remaining discretionary money. For someone being reduced to 30 hours/week, they may be left with ZERO discretionary money.

In any case, the law is having more of an impact on part-timers who were working 30 hours w/o benefits. Many are having their hours cut or jobs eliminated entirely. My sister was forced to either a. take a reduction to 25 hours/week or b. take a full time position with two kids. ACA is forcing hardship on Americans from every angle.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just REPEAL this God-awful monstrosity, and then retire the morons who thought it up.

The healthcare system would heal itself in about 12 months.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), however, said the hearing was nothing more than another attempt by Republicans to undermine the health law."

No kidding Sherlock. We need to undermine this stupid CF law in each and every way. And then undermine the socialist stupidity that the democrats and RINOs are trying to sneak into our laws and life.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am just a working "Joe" but I was able to see the flaw in the employer mandate from the beginning.
By setting the threshold at " x hours per employee" the law setup the workers to have hours cut and the employer would just add more "part time" workers.

A simple way to remove this issue is to trigger the mandate on "total worker hours". For example, under the current law, 50 workers at 30 hours each is 1500 worker/hours. So change the law to read "1500 worker/hours". Does not matter if you have 100 people working 15 hours or 50 people working 30 hours... same result. (still a bad result, I am not defending this horrible law)

This would then eliminate the benefit for the employer from "right sizing" with part-time workers.

That being said, REPEAL the ACA and save our future!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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