November 26 2012

Education Suffers Under Healthcare Bill

Emily Wismer

 

Nearly three years after the Affordable Care Act was enacted into law, Pennsylvania’s Community College of Allegheny County is cutting hours for 400 adjunct professors, staff, and part-time instructors due to increased costs from the healthcare bill.

As Carrie Lucas highlighted, by cutting part-time employees to 25 hours per week, the college will avoid paying for healthcare for employees over 30 hours a week and expects to save $6 million, roughly 24 percent of its budget allocations from the county. One professor explains the bill has resulted in both higher personal costs and a lower income:

“It's kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don't have the money to pay for it," said adjunct biology professor Adam Davis.

Both Professor Davis and his colleague Clint Benjamin are working at multiple campuses to make enough money to survive. Professor Benjamin himself is teaching seven courses, and the community college’s cuts will have a negative impact on his ability to make ends meet. 

United Steelworkers representative Jeff Cech argues the adjunct professors should unionize to avoid excessive hour cuts, yet such actions will place even greater strain on the school’s already tight budget. Because the healthcare bill impeding the Community College of Allegheny County’s ability to attract and maintain professors, is threatening quality of education students are able to pursue. 

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