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April 4 2014

Dismantling the Employer Mandate

Patrice J. Lee

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed an interesting measure that moves us a step closer to dismantling ObamaCare’s employer mandate.

Called the Save American Workers Act, this bipartisan bill is aimed at correcting the unintended consequences of reducing part-time hours and cutting paychecks because of ObamaCare’s employer mandate. The mandate requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide healthcare coverage to employees who work full-time which this law defines as those who work 30 hours or more. To avoid rising costs, some companies have cut the hours of their part-time workers to just under 30 –creating so-called 29ers.

The Hill reports:

The House voted Thursday to eliminate a piece of ObamaCare that Republicans say is forcing millions of people to accept reduced hours and smaller paychecks.


"ObamaCare places an unprecedented government regulation on workers, changing the definition of 'full-time work' from 40 hours per week to 30 hours," said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) during Wednesday's debate. "As a direct result, Americans across the country are having their hours cut at work, and they are seeing smaller paychecks."

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.), said some workers could see up to a 25 percent cut in their hours. He said that's the same percentage increase Democrats are seeking in the minimum wage. He said Democrats should support the bill if they want to see higher wages.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) went further by saying Democrats are trying to offset the lost ObamaCare wages with the minimum wage hike.

"This administration believes that they can hide the reality of the wage cuts with an increase in the minimum wage," Cantor said. "But that proposal, which the nonpartisan experts say will result in 500,000 lost jobs, is not the answer.

"The answer is restore the 40-hour workweek and let people work."

To dull the pain of lost wages because of ObamaCare the Administration is pushing for higher wages by raising the minimum wage. I’m glad conservatives have picked up on this strategy. Does the Administration think we were born yesterday? How much does employer healthcare coverage matter to someone who is unemployed?

It’s not often that Congress goes back to rectify the errors of its ways. This Congress has been criticized for its inability to get much done. First, there’s nothing wrong with a legislature that doesn’t pass legislation, if it means not forcing on its citizens burdening, harmful, and overreaching legislation. Second, this Congress making efforts to begin the process of righting the wrong of ObamaCare.

Critics may dismiss this measure as an effort by House Republicans to get back at the President or stymie ObamaCare for partisan reasons. However, they can’t dismiss what those directly impacted say. The retail industry argued in favor of the bill saying it would provide companies with the flexibility to make their own decisions about when to offer health plans to workers. Currently, companies can offer health benefits at varying levels of hourly work, even when those hours are less than 40. This measure preserves that flexibility.

The future is this bill is dim. The Senate is unlikely to take it up and the President already promised to veto it. So it will join other measures passed by the House that have not gone on to become law, but what it will do is force debate about the substantive problems with ObamaCare.

As we mentioned, the real problem with ObamaCare is not a bad PR strategy that failed to convince young people to sign up. It’s the substance of this sweeping regulatory behemoth that inserts government control over private business and our private lives.

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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