House to vote on changing Obamacare’s definition of full-time worker – By Sean Higgins (washingtonexaminer.com) / Sept 12 2018
The House is planning to vote on legislation that would change the definition of a full-time worker under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, raising it to 40 hours a week, up from the law’s current standard of 30 hours, among other changes to the law. Republicans had hoped to vote by the end of the week but that will likely be pushed back by Hurricane Florence.
“This week, the House will take up the rule for the Save American Workers Act,” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters Wednesday.
“It includes a number of bills providing relief for our local businesses from the Affordable Care Act,” he added. “Each of these provisions has had, at one time or another has gained bipartisan support.”
The legislation was sent to the House Rules Committee late Wednesday, but the hurricane has made a quick floor vote less likely. “I think leadership is leaving open the possibility of a shortened week because of those states being hit so hard,” Brady said. The chairman said the delay was not related to any attempt to secure more votes for passage.
Under the current law, businesses with 50 or more employees working an average of at least 30 hours a week must offer health coverage or face fines. Businesses have long complained that the 30 hour threshold is too low given that 40 hours is the standard for a full week under federal overtime laws. The Obama administration argued that the threshold had to be low to prevent companies from skirting the law. The Congressional Budget Office predicted Wednesday that the change would reduce federal revenue by $9.8 billion from 2019 to 2028.
The proposed legislation would also delay implementation of the employer mandate until 2028 and delays implementation of Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac Tax on high-premium health insurance until 2023. Overall, the legislation would reduce federal revenue by $51.6 billion.
The legislation, authored by Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., has 77 co-sponsors, including five Democrats.
The White House urged Congress to pass the legislation, saying it would boost the effort to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.