Local Governments Slash Worker Hours to Comply With Obamacare

Thursday, 20 Jun 2013 11:24 AM

By Lisa Barron

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While private companies have come under fire by proponents of Obamacare for cutting workers' hours to avoid complying with aspects of the law, many local governments are finding it is the only way to make ends meet.

Under the Affordable Care Act, full-time workers are defined as anyone who works more than 30 hours a week in a given month. A provision in the act that goes into effect next year requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide healthcare coverage for employees or pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker above the threshold.

As a result, municipalities across the country are cutting workers' hours to avoid the mandate, and are openly criticizing the law as they do so, reports Investor's Business Daily.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts

In Virginia, for instance, thousands of state workers are seeing their hours reduced so that they put in no more than 29 hours a week.

"The Commonwealth of Virginia is grappling with the same issues that many businesses in the private sector are as they struggle to deal with the costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act," said Paul Logan, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell.

In Long Beach, Calif., the city is going to cut hours for 200 part-time workers so it doesn't have to pay $2 million to provide health benefits.

"We are in the same boat as many employers," said Tom Modica, Long Beach's director of government affairs.

"The Affordable Care Act has added so much complexity and administrative burden that there is nothing affordable about it," said Jared Pope, who is consulting with Texas municipal governments on Obamacare. The City of Plano, Texas, for one, is cutting thousands of hours to avoid $1 million in new costs.

"If we had to provide healthcare and other benefits to all of our employees, the burden on the city would be tremendous," said Dearborn, Mich., Mayor John O'Reilly, on why the city is cutting more than 700 part-time and seasonal workers down to 28 hours a week.

"Healthcare is one of the largest budget items that increases annually due to the rising cost from insurance providers," O'Reilly said.

Elsewhere in the state, starting this spring, the majority of new seasonal employees in Birmingham are being limited to a work week of 28 hours or less because failure to comply with the new law could result in penalties of up to $400,000 for the city.

"It's hard to believe our friends in Washington, our professional politicians, didn't exempt municipalities from this," said Commissioner Gordon Rinschler. "It pains me to have to increase the cost of our operations to our taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act," he said. "We simply can't afford the Affordable Care Act."

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts

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