Thursday, January 08, 2015

Kill the 40 Hour Bill

Today the House of Representatives will vote on a bill to repeal the definition of full time employment status from Obamacare. Under the law, employers with 50 or more employees are now required to provide health insurance benefits to their employees who work more than 30 hours per week. The House bill (and accompanying Senate bill) would increase the threshold to the traditional full time definition of 40 hours per week. Passing this bill would be a huge mistake.

By passing this legislation, Republicans are providing supporters of the law with cover and ammunition. It allows them to claim that Republicans are pro-big business and anti-middle class while also accusing them of wanting more people to be uninsured.

It also will reduce the number of people who oppose the law. Every time Republicans chisel away a piece of Obamacare it makes an anti-Obamacare group less likely to oppose the law (hint: device manufacturers). The Obama Administration knows this - It's why many of the unpopular provisions of the law didn't begin until 2014. Even then the administration has continued to delay unpopular provisions time and time again.

A better solution would be to let employers and their employees "feel the pain." An employer who chooses to offer insurance and avoid the penalty can do so and play within the legal requirements of the law. Offering the minimum coverage and charging the maximum allowed under the law is a good start. Employees need to understand what Obamacare defines as affordable and good insurance under the law. For the employer who doesn't offer insurance they would then be subject to the tax imposed on them by the law. Make no mistake, the result here is that in many cases the employer will simply pass along this tax to their employees in the form of lower wages.

Republicans will be better served by focusing on how this will financially impact people when it's fully implemented. They should point to all of the unpopular provisions that the Obama Administration delayed. They should ask the constituents they serve what the financial impact would be if they had to pay 9.5% or more of their income for insurance. They should ask what impact employers will face if they can't afford to offer insurance. They should ask employers where the $2000 per employee penalty will come from.

Allowing this atrocity to run its course isn't the ideal solution. But for the average American the only way to understand just how bad this law really is means that they must feel the pain - and that is best felt when it hits their pocketbook.
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