The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report Tuesday that stated that the full-time work force will lose approximately 2 million people by 2024, as a result of the Affordable Care Act. This report came one week after a source told lawmakers that nursing home staff are the most likely candidates to have their hours reduced due to the ACA.
In his testimony, Stanford University’s Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D., told the House Ways & Means Committee, that more than 7.5% of the nursing home workforce is vulnerable to having their hours reduced due to the health law’s “employer mandate”. The mandate requires employers with at least 50 full-time workers to provide health insurance that meets certain requirements, or face a penalty. Because the ACA defines full-time work as 30 hours or more per week, some employers have threatened to reduce workers’ hours below that threshold to avoid the mandate.
Critics of the employer mandate — and the ACA in general — seized on the CBO figures to support their arguments. The report doubled the CBO’s 2010 estimate of how much the health law will reduce labor use. As a result, the House Ways and Committee seems to have been persuaded that changes should be made to the employer mandate. The panel approved two bills that would alter the definition of full-time work to 40 hours a week. This definition would give businesses more leeway to maintain the status quo and protect workers from having their hours cut by companies seeking to stay under the threshold of 50 full-time employees, according to the bills’ supporters.