House Republicans moved yesterday to correct one of the unintended consequences of ObamaCare, and to challenge Senate Democrats to demonstrate that they want to “fix it rather than nix it.” The definition of full-time work in the Affordable Care Act is 30 hours a week, which provides incentives for employers to limit hours for its employees to less than that — and it’s not just the private sector responding to that incentive. The House passed a new definition of full-time work that raises the threshold to 40 hours a week, and eighteen House Democrats voted for passage:
Eighteen House Democrats voted with Republicans Thursday to change the definition of full-time work as it relates to the Affordable Care Act, signaling that for some members of President Obama’s party the law remains a difficult political issue.
The bill approved Thursday would change the law’s definition of full-time work from 30 hours a week back to 40 hours, a move that Republicans say is necessary as employers continue limiting the hours of part-time workers in anticipation of the law’s employer insurance requirement.
That prompted a veto threat from the White House, and a further demonstration of cluelessness:
Obama threatened to veto the House bill this week, citing a recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that said about that1 million people would lose employer-backed coverage and that the number of uninsured would climb by almost 500,000 if the law’s work definitions were changed. And most congressional Democrats, buoyed by the new enrollment figures, said Thursday that Republicans were merely bending to the will of companies who are using the new law as an excuse to cut workers’ hours and pay.
“It is not Obamacare that decides how much somebody works, it’s the person who runs the company,” Rep. James McDermott (D-Wash.) said Thursday.
Well, yes … and cost and price signals largely direct those decisions. Democrats made it a lot more costly to give workers 30 hours a week. Did they think that would not have any impact on staffing decisions? This takes the tunnel vision created by static analysis to a ridiculously narrow new limit.
Under normal circumstances, that kind of unseriousness should discredit McDermott and his fellow Democrats. However, Barack Obama and his party have spent the last few years filling the debate with sophistry and flat-out untruths about ObamaCare, so this just adds to the catalogue of discrediting statements. Peggy Noonan addressed this phenomenon today, noting that it comes as part of their effort to avoid responsibility for the easily-predictable consequences of their actions:
Her comments alarmed congressional Republicans but inspired Democrats, who for the next three years would carry on like blithering idiots making believe they’d read the bill and understood its implications. They were later taken aback by complaints from their constituents. The White House, on the other hand, seems to have understood what the bill would do, and lied in a way so specific it showed they knew exactly what to spin and how. “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan, period.” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period.” That of course was the president, misrepresenting the facts of his signature legislative effort. That was historic, too. If you liked your doctor, your plan, your network, your coverage, your deductible you could not keep it. Your existing policy had to pass muster with the administration, which would fight to the death to ensure that 60-year-old women have pediatric dental coverage.
The leaders of our government have not felt, throughout the process, that they had any responsibility to be honest and forthcoming about the major aspects of the program, from its exact nature to its exact cost. We are not being told the cost of anything—all those ads, all the consultants and computer work, even the cost of the essential program itself.
What the bill declared it would do—insure tens of millions of uninsured Americans—it has not done. There are still tens of millions uninsured Americans. On the other hand, it has terrorized millions who did have insurance and lost it, or who still have insurance and may lose it.
Michael Ramirez uses his Pulitzer Prize-winning talent to make a blunter argument at Investors Business Daily:
April Fools, indeed. The Obama administration and Capitol Hill seem chock-full of them, and not just on April 1.
Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.