President Barack Obama would veto the House GOP’s bill to repeal the Obamacare provision that defines the work week as 30 hours, the White House said Wednesday in a formal statement.
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on the bill that would increase the work week definition from 30 hours to 40 hours under Obamacare. The White House said that the bill would “increase the deficit, reduce the number of Americans with employer-based health insurance coverage, and create incentives for employers to shift their employees to part-time work — causing the problem it intends to solve.”
As TPM previously reported, the GOP’s plan to redefine the work week as 40 hours would strip an estimated 1 million workers of employer-sponsored health insurance and increase the deficit by $74 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation.
The full statement is below.
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act, because it would significantly increase the deficit, reduce the number of Americans with employer-based health insurance coverage, and create incentives for employers to shift their employees to part-time work – causing the problem it intends to solve. Rather than attempting once again to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act, which the House has tried to do over 50 times, it is time for the Congress to stop fighting old political battles and join the President in forwarding an agenda focused on providing greater economic opportunity and security for middle class families and all those working to be a part of the middle class.
This legislation would weaken a provision of the Affordable Care Act designed to maintain employer-based health insurance coverage, protect their employees, and prevent employers’ health‑benefit costs from being shifted to taxpayers. According to the July estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, it would increase the budget deficit by $45.7 billion over the 2015 to 2024 period, reduce the number of people receiving employer-based health insurance coverage, and increase the number of individuals who are uninsured. While the Administration appreciates the concerns that result from the current 30-hour definition of full-time work, there is no evidence that this has caused a broad shift to part-time work to date. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the Affordable Care Act became law, more than 90 percent of the increase in employment has been in full-time jobs, and over that time, the economy has added 10.8 million private-sector jobs. Furthermore, by moving the threshold to 40 hours, this legislation could cause the problem it claims to solve by greatly increasing the number of workers for whom employers may have an incentive to reduce hours to avoid the requirement.
The Affordable Care Act gives people greater control over their own health care. Since 2013, estimates show that about 10 million Americans have gained health coverage. Nearly 6.5 million have renewed or newly signed up for health insurance coverage through the Federally-facilitated Health Insurance Marketplaces to date, and open enrollment continues through February 15. Because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans who have previously been denied coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition now have access to coverage. Additionally, the law allows millions of young Americans to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, and provides access to free preventive care like cancer screenings that can catch illness early on. Equally important, the Affordable Care Act has contributed to the slowest growth in the prices of health care goods and services in 50 years.
While the Administration welcomes ideas to improve the law, H.R. 30 would shift costs to taxpayers, put workers’ hours at risk, and disrupt health insurance coverage.
If the President were presented with H.R. 30, he would veto it.