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Young's bill to amend Affordable Care Act passes House


By Michael Auslen





It’s the latest attempt by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to change or repeal part of the ACA, commonly called Obamacare. Young’s bill, called the Save American Workers Act, seeks to raise the ACA’s definition of full-time employment from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week.

“We just recognized this is going to be a problem,” Young said. “We knew that would be painful to lower-income and middle-income Americans during a down economy.”

The 30-hour definition of a full-time worker is part of the employer mandate, the part of the ACA that requires employers to provide health benefits for full-time employees with the goal of increasing employer-funded health care.

Young said the problem is some employers are reducing hours rather than funding health care for employees working between 30 and 40 hours per week.

“I’ve been hearing from a lot of hourly workers in particular,” Young said. “They’re unhappy with this provision. Some have spoken quite candidly with employers about this. Others believe they’ve already had their hours reduced as a result.”

If passed, the Save American Workers Act would reduce the number of people receiving health care coverage from their employers by about one million.

It could also increase federal government spending on Medicare and other health programs by as much as $7 billion in the next five years, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

IU has implemented policies that limit part-time employees to 29 hours per week. Similarly, Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas Snyder, testifying before Congress in January, said the community college has cut back on hours for thousands of its adjunct professors.

Although Young’s bill passed the Republican-controlled House, precedent indicates it will likely struggle in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

An analysis by POLITICO Magazine in January showed that House Republicans have tried about 50 times to repeal or dramatically change the ACA. Young has supported many such bills.

“Those bills have not received a floor vote in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “I don’t know what decisions the Democratic leadership in the Senate will take with respect to this
legislation.”

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