At least two Senate Democrats are joining with Republicans in urging President Barack Obama to reconsider his opposition to tweaking the Affordable Care Act's definition of full-time work, The Washington Times
Obamacare defines employees who work 30 hours a week as full time and mandates their employers to provide healthcare coverage. The mandate kicks in this year for many firms with 100 or more full-time workers and begins in 2016 for firms with 50 or more employees.
Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly said the 30-hour criteria has compelled restaurants and schools to reduce workers' hours to evade the mandate.
"I know in South Bend, Indiana, and in Terre Haute, Indiana, if you took a microphone out and asked people 'What's a full-time workweek?' you'd get 172 saying '40' and you'd get zero saying '30,' " Donnelly said, according to USA Today
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is another proponent of defining the workweek to 40 hours, the Times reported.
The White House and most Democrats counter that raising the law's threshold will make things worse by giving firms an incentive to reduce the hours of even more employees now working 40 hours a week.
The Congressional Budget Office
says any change in the Affordable Care Act at this stage to define full-time work would actually raise the deficit by $53.2 billion over the next decade and leave more Americans uninsured.
The Affordable Care Act set 30 hours as the definition of full-time work to protect the majority of workers who put in 40 hours a week. More workers are in danger of being slashed from 41 to 39 hours a week
than from 31 to 29 hours, say researchers.
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins characterized such arguments as "bogus." She said employers had no problem offering coverage to workers who put in the traditional 40 hours, the Times reported.
A bill to tweak Obamacare's definition of full-time work is expected to be approved in the House on Thursday, USA Today reported. Democratic co-sponsors include Reps. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Florida's Gwen Graham, Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, The Hill reported
Obama has said he would veto any legislation to change the law's definition of the workweek.
On Wednesday, the House exempted veterans who get their healthcare coverage through the Veterans Affairs Department from the Obamacare workweek mandate in order to encourage companies to hire ex-service members, Stars and Stripes
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