Reporting Andy Sheehan
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Obamacare is the law of the land, but it may be the law of unintended consequences.
Some employers say they find the Affordable Care Act – unaffordable. Instead of extending coverage to some employees, they’re cutting their hours.
Clint Benjamin cobbles together a living teaching writing at both CCAC and Duquesne University, but this school year CCAC cut his hours.
“I’ve got a kid to raise, bills to pay, etcetera, etcetera. Everyone has those issues, but it certainly makes the limited dollars leaner and scarcer,” Benjamin said.
The reason was not his performance in the classroom, but rather an act of Congress. The Affordable Healthcare Act — known as Obamacare.
It requires healthcare coverage for all employees working more than 30 hours a week and CCAC cut back the hours of 200 adjunct professors and 200 other employees so they wouldn’t have to foot that bill.
“Unfortunately, extending coverage to those employees would be completely unaffordable for CCAC. It would be about $6 million a year,” David Hoovler with CCAC said.
CCAC is not alone is saying that extending additional healthcare benefits could be a budget-buster. The Carnegie Museum recently cut back the hours of 48 of its 600 part-time employees for the same reason even though both institutions say they did so reluctantly.
“Our preference would be to extend the coverage to those employees. It’s simply unaffordable for the college at this time,” Hoovler said.
However, union organizers say it’s not limited to public institutions.
“At Red Lobster and Walmart, they’re doing the same thing. The people working part-time who are already working jobs where they’re not making enough to live are having their hours cut,” Robin Sowards said.
They also say that companies and institutions should find a way to provide healthcare.
Obamacare is still a work in progress and the federal government may start improving penalties on institutions and companies who don’t comply, but that remains to be seen.