Thursday, April 3, 2014

18 Democrats Join House Republicans in Taking Another Swing at the Affordable Care Act

Earlier today, the House passed the deceptively titled Save American Workers Act. From whom or what is Congress claiming to save American workers? The Affordable Care Act, of course!

The bill would eliminate language in PPACA that defines a full-time employee as anyone working 30 or more hours a week, and replace it with a 40-hour requirement instead. Under PPACA, companies with 50 or more full-time workers, have to provide health insurance to their workers.

The retail industry, unsurprisingly, had been a large supporter of the bill because it would enable many retailers to get out of providing health insurance.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would leave 1 million people without employer-based coverage and increase the total number of uninsured to up to 500,000. It would also cost about $100 billion over the next decade.

Most Democrats opposed the bill:
Democrats argued the 30-hour threshold is appropriate, and that changing it to 40 hours would let companies deny people health insurance when they work 39 hours a week. "Now, they will only be forced to reduce hours from 40 to 39, as opposed to 30 to 29," said Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). "In other words, if you work 39 hours a week, you won't have to be covered."

Most Democrats cited a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis that said the bill would leave 1 million people without employer-based coverage, force most of them onto Medicaid or the ObamaCare exchanges, and leave the rest without insurance.

The CBO also said it would cost $74 billion over 10 years, and most of that is due to reduced penalties collected from employers.
"Essentially, what you are doing here today is saying to many, many people who are working hard and who need insurance that this bill will knock you off your employer-based insurance and increase the number of uninsured by half a million, while increasing the deficit by $74 billion," said Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sandy Levin (D-Mich.). "Ideology is indeed blind when this kind of a proposition is put forth."
However, 18 Democrats still joined the House Republican caucus in voting for the bill: 

Ron Barber (AZ-01)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
Bradley Schneider (IL-10)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)

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