Educators Hit by ObamaCare
Far too many teachers are uniformly uninquisitive. And, sadly, their vote for Obama is coming back to bite them as the consequences of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) are finally dawning on many of them.
When ObamaCare finally goes into effect in January 2014, if an employer does not supply health care to employees working 30 hours or more a week, the employer will have to pay a penalty.
Logic would dictate that an employer will not pay a penalty if there is an alternative. Ergo, colleges and universities across the country are now cutting back on the number of credits that adjunct instructors can teach per semester. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a big-time supporter of Obama, basically sold its members a bill of goods. Now Craig Smith, director of higher education for the AFT, claims that since many in academe "talk more about credit hours and course loads than hours worked, more clarification is needed."
A tad late, Mr. Smith. What were the legal hotshots at AFT thinking when the union so blindly threw its support behind Obama? A few tidbits from the AFT site clearly display their ignorance of the health law, as its members were told that:
... [v]ery little will change about how your healthcare is provided. Most health insurance will continue to come from private companies. Ownership and control of hospitals and doctors' offices will stay the same....
If you're currently covered by health insurance, nothing will be taken away as a result of the new health reform law.
If I could find this information in 2008 about Obama touting a single-payer system, how come the AFT research team never bothered to inform its members what Obama really had in mind as his health care ideas "evolved"?
Furthermore, according to the AFT, "[t]he new law establishes an institute to collect information and research that will help your doctor know which treatments are most effective, but all medical decisions will remain in the hands of you and your doctor."
Which law were they reading? In fact, some nameless bureaucrat will be the final arbiter of medical decisions! And the amorphous "institute" comprises the Department of Health and Human Services and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). According to Michael F. Cannon and Diane Cohen:
Obamacare gives [the] IPAB the power to raise taxes, spend money, place conditions on federal grants to states, and exercise other powers the Constitution reserves solely to Congress.
Thus, the IPAB "is a super-legislature whose members are more powerful than members of Congress," yet IPAB "consists of up to 15 unelected government 'experts.'"
The AFT also stated that "Medicare will not be cut." May I remind the AFT that Obama did, in fact, cut Medicare, as explained in this piece by Peter Ferrara and Larry Hunter?
The AFT blithely claimed that "the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that reform may actually lower premiums slightly for group health plans and by 14 percent to 20 percent for people who purchase their own insurance."
How do they explain the fact that consumers will experience another series of price shocks later this year, when some see their premiums skyrocket? In fact, premiums are already rising.
Thus, in light of burgeoning costs and governmental edicts, Youngstown State University in Ohio has already created caps on the number of hours its adjunct faculty can teach.
Palm Beach State College of Florida is the latest to announce that it will begin limiting the hours adjunct instructors can work in order to avoid new requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
Moreover, in Arizona, "the maximum teaching load for adjunct faculty within the Maricopa County Community College District ... is nine (9) load hours per semester[.] Service faculty will be limited to twenty (20) hours per week."
Pennsylvania Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) "already slashed the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time teachers to sidestep the Obamacare fines." CCAC employees "were notified that Obamacare defines full-time employees as those working 30 hours or more per week." Thus, on December 31, 2012, "temporary part-time employees were told they would be cut back to 25 hours," saving the university an estimated $6 million. Consequently, "under the new CCAC policy, adjunct instructors will be allowed to teach only ten credit-hours a semester. A credit-hour is $730. Thus, for a year, an adjunct would make $14,600 -- "just a tick above the poverty level."
What an irony, considering that in the AFT's endorsement for Obama, they wrote that:
... Barack Obama is the only candidate running for president who understands that economic growth depends upon economic fairness, and who has articulated an agenda focused on rebuilding and expanding the middle class[.]
Yet, in essence, "a new class of 'have-nots'" will be created -- "the huge pool of people who will work fewer than 30 hours a week and wonder, or stew, over how little, apparently society values what they have to offer."
I wonder when the AFT members will finally register their ire with union leaders! But what of the individual responsibility of members to become informed and not just depend upon their so-called union leadership?
The reason why colleges and universities are instituting these changes one year in advance of total implementation of ObamaCare is because "the government requires businesses to track worker schedules for three to 12 months in advance. That means many employers plan to get a jumpstart on avoiding Obamacare's $2,000 per-worker fine by firing workers now, reducing employee hours, or replacing full-time employees with part-time workers."
So while the IRS "issued rules requiring colleges to provide full benefits to adjunct teachers who work at least 30 hours a week, the unintended consequence will be that schools are cutting the hours of their adjunct faculty." New Faculty Majority is a group that advocates for collective bargaining rights of adjunct instructors and professors. Such advocacy will do little when colleges maintain that "without adequate state appropriations, they can't afford to provide insurance." Consequently, the new IRS rules designed to help adjunct faculty actually hurt them.
As an adjunct myself, I now have to suffer the consequences of those who wanted to bask in Obamaland, as well as of those who forgot the adage "trust, but verify."
In the final analysis, a blogger from Outside the Beltway said it well when he wrote that "when all is said and done, quite literally millions upon millions of people out there will have less take home pay and worse benefit packages post-Obamacare than they did pre-Obamacare[.]"
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.