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From CCAC Cuts Adjuncts' Hours To Avoid Obamacare Requirements

Community College Of Allegheny County will cut the hours some instructors to avoid paying for their health insurance coverage under new Affordable Care Act rules.

CCAC President Alex Johnson announced in an email to employees last week that the school would cut course loads and hours for some 200 adjunct faculty members and 200 additional employees.

It's not just restaurants cutting the hours of employees so they can classify them as part time workers and avoid the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that full time employees have ACA compliant health insurance.

While Papa John's and some Denny's franchisees have brought this issue to the publics attention to make a political statement,  I don't see a political aspect to Community College Of Allegheny County's decision to reduce hours to avoid the employer mandate.  CCAC is doing this because they don't have the money from tuition or the state to pay for this.

For employees who already have health insurance that largely conforms to ACA, their employers are unlikely to try to convert their employees to part time unless the business turns for the worse.

Looking at this situation as an economist, those who work more than 30 hours a week and don't have health insurance are those most vulnerable to having their hours reduced.

The ACA is a very large and complex law that will have thousands of pages of regulations going with it.  As it gets implemented many problems will be exposed, this is just the nature of complexity.  Supporters of ACA need to accept there will be problems, they should not vilify those who raise these problems and respond that the direction of the law is good and the law needs to be updated to address the problems that come up.

When it could cost $100/week for insurance, the difference between a 30 hour week and a 35 hour week is an additional $20/hr for health insurance for these additional 5 hours.  There is just too much economic pressure on employers that do not pay for health insurance to reduce employee hours to expect many of them not to reduce hours.  Praise should be given that provide insurance rather than cut hours.

The answer to Papa Johns, CCAC and others reducing employee hours to avoid health insurance costs is to reform ACA, so there is a required per hour payment to a government fund that will then be used to pay for the part time worker's health insurance through the exchanges.  

Providing exceptions to the law based on hours worked and number of employees was a mistake that needs to be corrected. Yes, this problem would not exist under single payer.  This issue could provide an additional reason for forming a union.

In the months ahead we should review the monthly unemployment report from BLS to see if the employed are increasingly part time workers.  If this does happen we might see a decrease in the U6 unemployment rate as 3 full time people may be replaced by 4 part time.


For those working full time without health insurance. Do you think your employer will switch employees to part time to avoid paying health insurance?

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| 68 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn, Sylv, Utahrd, splashy, chicagorich

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 02:56:48 PM PST

  •  This is one of the reasons we needed single payer. (14+ / 0-)

    As long as insurance is tied to employers, employees will always be at the mercy of employers who weasel around to get out of obligations by screwing the employees.

  •  when employers cut health insurance as a way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ballerina X, KateCrashes

    of cutting costs, does that make us businesses more competitive, as you claimed in another recent diary thread?

    you said instead of letting tax rates for the rich go back up on jan 1st, the govt should focus on making us businesses more competitive.

    you never responded to my question how that would be done, specifically.  is this an example?

    •  A large part of making US business more (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Utahrd, VClib

      competitive globally is changing how we tax in a world of global trade.  Income and consumption taxes find their way into the price of goods and services sold domestically and internationally.  When a business decides to make or sell products in a country, there is a tax policy that directly and largely indirectly impacts that decision.  

      Most other countries remove a large share or all of their tax burden on their exports and impose a tax on imports so imports carry as much (or a large share) of the national tax burden as domestic goods and services.  With the minor exception of sales taxes, the US does not do this.

      The result is that in the US market, US made goods, bearing the full US tax burden (personal and business income, payroll and property taxes), while the imported products carry little or no tax burden from the exporting country and no tax from the US.  This means the US product is fully taxed, while the imported competition is not taxed by the US, nor by the country of origin.  When the US operation exports, its good still carry the US tax burden, but when sold in the other country the US product is taxed, so the US product carries the taxes of two countries.  This makes it impractical to do most manufacturing in the US.  

      Consider a US manufacturing operation competing against a country that was very efficient in removing its tax burden from its exports (and taxing imports the same as domestic production) and employees had the same purchasing power as in the US.  Assume the capital intensity (plant and equipment) needed was such that labor was 1/2 or less.  Even if the cost of labor for these employees went to zero, the US operation would not be competitive.

      Notice none of the above touched rates, or how much should tax revenues be only how a country should tax in a global market.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:54:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know that and you know that..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, VClib

        Tell all the people in the California Democratic Supermajority diaries that want to increase taxes on business in general and repeal Prop 13 specifically.

        California has close to the highest unemployment in the country.  Not everyone can be a Professor of Sustainable Development.  Some people work construction or in factories.

        •  are you advocating businesses pay no taxes at all? (0+ / 0-)

          if so, how is a govt whether local, state, or national, supposed to operate without adequate revenues?

          are individuals to be the sole source of tax revenue?  what should the tax burden be if personal income is the primary means of generating the revenue needed to sustain govt?

          btw, you sound like you think the us should return to the articles of confederation model of govt when it comes to taxes -- which nearly brought the us to its knees during the first decade of our existence -- & which was the exact same form of govt the confederate states of america adopted in 1861 -- & it didn't work any better for them, either.  in fact, the csa's lack of taxation power led it to become a dictatorship.

          is this what you want for america?

      •  oh, so you mean the us should copy china's (0+ / 0-)

        example -- ? -- or maybe ireland's, where the country's business policies were so generous the whole economy imploded once businesses decided to leave the party -- ??

        meh.  more rw pro-business bullshit.

        actually, 40% of american businesses pay ZERO taxes b/c of generous subsidies & tax loopholes that allow them to stash profits in off-shore banks & secret accounts in countries like switzerland.

        in addition, most cities/communities/states are hurting so bad for jobs they compete with one another to grant the most generous incentive packages to companies so they'll be the site where the new factory/plant/offices will be located -- & that usually means local/school tax deferments for yrs & even decades.

        the game that's being played here -- & the one you're advocating -- is a bidding war between countries to see who can lower the wage floor the most, & that means cutting costs & anything that does that, whether it's trimming taxes assessed on businesses, eliminating employee benefits, or paying as little in wages to workers as possible is the end goal.

        you can try to dress up your tired old sack of shit business model but it's still the same failed policies that have never worked for anyone except the top 1%.

        •  You clearly did not understand or read my comment. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Or you replied to the wrong comment.

          There is more to taxes than rates.  Do imports into the US get taxed with the overall US tax burden, or not as is currently the case.  Does it make sense to expect US made goods bearing the full US tax burden to succed competing against imports untaxed by the US and the country of origin? Do US exports get their US tax burden removed, so they are competitive in countries that tax their imports with their national tax burden - so US exports only bear the tax burden of one country rather than two.

          Under the current broken tax policies, the businesses we see in the US are largely those based on goods and services not suitable for international trade, distribution of international products or businesses that get special tax treatment.  

          Other countries have tax plicies better suited to international markets.  Consider the successful, advanced industrial countries that have trade surpluses while also being high wage, large government economies with little natural resources such as Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Israel, Netherlands, South Korea, etc..

          Moving to a tax policy suitable for a global market will result in the US higher wages, much less unemployment and a higher standard of living for the bulk of the population.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:28:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh, i read your reply all right. and you ignored (0+ / 0-)

            the issue. again.

            if only american businesses could make policy. . . if only there was some way they could hire lobbyists who could influence legislators & decision-makers . . . if only THEY could decide what taxes got levied on imports & exports . . . why, if that could happen, everything would be right as rain!

            gimmeafuckingbreak.  business makes the laws & writes the policies.  business has the power to change what gets taxed & how much or little that amount is.  blaming the high cost of goods b/c companies have to pass on incurred healthcare costs is absurd on its face.  companies use that excuse all the time when they raise their prices, but when the obscene compensation packages they dole out to executives is brought up as something that's also passed along to consumers, it's termed inconsequential to the company's bottom line.

      •  nextstep - It's almost unbelievable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        how our tax policies in the US favor imports over exports when nearly all of the other G20 economies have determined how to do the reverse, and we have massive trade deficits.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 10:15:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  not unbelievable to me. look who writes the tax (0+ / 0-)

          laws: business lobbyists.

          •  bluezen - that's just it (0+ / 0-)

            it hurts US businesses the most. It would be in the interest of the CoC, and the US Manufacturers Association, and every other business group I could think of if we changed out tax policy, as it relates to imports and exports, to be more in line with the rest of the world.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 05:44:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  not to get too deep into the weeds here, but my (0+ / 0-)

              comment to nextstep was about a previous comment in another diary in which s/he said the fiscal problems the us is experiencing now could be solved if only us businesses were able to be more competitive, & not by increasing revenue thru raising taxes on the rich -- to which i asked how, exactly, businesses could become more competitive, as the right always claims it's such a great idea but never provides details.  her/his reply resulted in the upthread comments.

              if current tax policies suck -- which i agree, they do -- then it is those who write the policies who are to blame, so it seems ridiculous to argue on one hand that businesses are "suffering" under the current tax rates when they're the ones who dreamt them up.  

              it's not a secret, is it, that business lobbyists write tax laws/policies?

              •  bluezen - it's not that black and white (0+ / 0-)

                Some businesses, with better lobbyists, influence tax laws but that doesn't mean that US tax laws favor business in general, certainly not when it comes to the taxation of imports and exports. The current US tax laws favors importers, which clearly hurts the majority of US businesses. It is hard to make the case that US business wants it that way, when the laws are clearly harmful. A big part of this is just a leftover from a time when US manufactured products dominated world trade, which is certainly not the case any more. That's why a bottoms up fresh look at the entire IRS code, as it relates to corporate taxation, is long overdue.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 12:55:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  no, it's not hard at all to make the case that us (0+ / 0-)

                  businesses get exactly what they want -- unless you're willfully turning a blind eye to the obvious.

                  yes, some businesses profit more from current tax policies than others, & they are mostly the biggest corporations/industries -- who have the resources to hire the armies of lobbyists that populate k street in dc & write tax laws that deliberately further their advantage, nationally & internationally.  under this system, small businesses & nascent industries struggle to exist & many do not -- which is the whole point: big businesses & industries don't want competition, they want monopoly.

                  your claim that current tax laws favoring imports, which in turn harms us businesses, begs an interesting question: why do these laws exist in the first place if they do such damage?  wouldn't businesses want to change the equation in their favor, if that were the case?  wouldn't they hire lobbyists to influence legislators to write better laws -- or let their lobbyists write the laws for them?  business leaders certainly haven't been shy about demanding (& getting) what they want in the past.  why would amending tax laws be any different?

                  businesses also haven't hesitated to close down manufacturing centers & factories in the us & send jobs to other countries where labor is cheaper, so if the tax "burden" is so unfair (as you & nextstep & the coc & the rw in general claim) what's stopping these corporations from relocating their bases of operations elsewhere & not having to bother with us tax laws at all?

                  corporate profits have become obscene, while workers & middle class income have either stagnated or fallen.  this alone is evidence the current tax laws work in favor of us business, not to its detriment, so your argument is disingenuous at best.

                  •  bluezen - we are making the case (0+ / 0-)

                    that US corporate tax laws favor imports over exports and thereby encourage offshore manufacturing. Changing them would benefit domestic businesses. I think the view that nextstep and I have is not that it is unfair to corporations, but rather that it bad public policy because it discourages domestic manufacturing. The rest of the G20 have figured this out, but not the US. I think we are all on the same side on this specific topic.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:52:02 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  as the boys in vegas would say, you (& nextstep) (0+ / 0-)

                      are making your point the hard way then, b/c it certainly seems advocating for keeping the bush tax cuts for the rich (as nextstep did) isn't the same position i hold at all, & your insistence that business leaders' hands are tied when it comes to leveraging their substantial political & financial clout in remaking tax policy is a joke, to put it mildly.

                      •  bluezen - I haven't argued to keep the Bush cuts (0+ / 0-)

                        in fact I am with the Progressive Caucus on this one, let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone and add the Sanders millionaire's tax on top.

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:42:13 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  I also don't believe that corporations have total (0+ / 0-)

                        control over US tax policy and IRS regulations. If they did the first thing they would change is to put the US on a territorial tax basis like the rest of the G20 so the US taxed only domestic profits and stopped trying to collect taxes on income earned in other countries.

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:44:55 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  we disagree on this one. i believe the coc, (0+ / 0-)

                          the pete peterson foundation, & other rw think tanks & cabals are pushing hard for the tpp, which would cede authority to the agency to negotiate ALL trade agreements & (i believe) tax policy, effectively neutering the power of any countries who are members -- forever.  

                          i read an article in the nation several months ago about how impossible it would be for the us to exit such an agreement if/when we sign it.  there would be no more presidential authority regarding trade agreements & no congressional oversight, & the tpp's reach would be massive & broad-ranging, even affecting taxes & levies on imports/exports, which the us would have no veto over.

                          big business likes it a lot.  tell you anything?

  •  "Part-time workers included in ACA's mandate for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn, KateCrashes, freesia, blueoasis

    employers of 50 or more"

    The key term is the word “equivalent,” which means full-time and part-time employees are included in the calculation. The hours worked by part-time employees (i.e., those working fewer than 30 hours per week) are included in the calculation, on a monthly basis, by taking their total number of monthly hours worked divided by 120 (the total monthly hours for a full-time, or 30-hour-a-week worker).

    This part of the ACA is often misunderstood.

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 03:59:00 PM PST

    •  Does this mean that what this employer is planning (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paulie200, nextstep, ichibon

      can't be done?

      (One other note: The reason colleges use adjuncts in the first place is to avoid paying real salaries and benefits. And in the case of institutions like this they don't have much choice. So of course they'll adjust the arrangement as needed to keep it working that way, if they can.)

    •  Please re-read the link you provided. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It only addresses part time workers counting in the calculation of does the company have more than 50 full time equivalent employees, and therefore may be subject to penalties.  It does not address penalties for not offering coverage to part time workers.  

      For companies with 51 or more full time equivalent employees, there is no penalty for not offering coverage for employees working fewer than 30 hours per week.

      See from the Kaiser Foundation (one of the best sources of health care public policy analysis.)

      Businesses with 51 or more FTE employees will be fined $2,000 per employee (excluding the first 30
      employees) if they do not offer coverage for employees who average 30 or more hours per week. Note that there is no penalty for part-time employees not offered coverage.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 10:09:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The politics are just one step removed (7+ / 0-)

    Local Republicans have been carving down CCAC's budget for some time.  One recent account (emphasis added):

    The community college, the largest in the state, received $25.5 million this year from the county. Mr. Fitzgerald has proposed cutting that contribution down to $23.2 million next year, while Mr. Robinson wants to provide $25 million. Mr. Robinson also serves as chairman of CCAC's board of trustees.

    College president Alex Johnson said Thursday that any cuts in CCAC's appropriation from the county would mean once again deferring maintenance and delays in completing other long-range projects. Several years of reduced state aid and accompanying tight budgets have resulted in hiring freezes and meant higher tuition for students, he said.

    Mr. Fitzgerald said he was standing by his initial proposed allocation for the community college. CCAC got an additional $2 million in county funds this year, but it should not expect that all its future allocations would be based on that higher number, he said.

    The $23.2 million he proposed represents an inflation-adjusted increase from the $23 million CCAC received in 2011, Mr. Fitzgerald said.

    Let's see:  Try to end public education because real Amurikans are stoopid Amurikans?  Check.  Destroy public institutions because good government is small government except when it comes to controlling individuals, especially their sex lives?  Check.  Make ACA fail and make sure it is hated even if it succeeds?  Check.

    A counter proposal (from a Democrat) would restore $1.76 million of the college's funding.  

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 04:24:18 PM PST

  •  Truly missing the big picture! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KateCrashes, Gooserock, Deathtongue

    One of the most expensive tasks in a company--or a college--is recruiting. Adjuncts who can actually teach are very hard to find, and this particular college is going to find out very quickly that their accreditation will be at risk by this move. There are rules for that stuff.

    It won't be long at all until the competition will drive "no health insurance" companies out of business.

    And with respect to the restaurants that are playing this game, I plan to ask every one of our "regulars" whether their staff have health insurance and sick leave. If not, the place is too dangerous for me to patronize.

  •  Most college's have rules against adjuncts... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, texasmom, Nespolo

    ...working a full time schedule.  Always have.  An adjunct getting benefits is a rara avis.

    •  The issue here was a further reduction in their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      hours, specifically because of the mistake of exempting part time workers from a Heath Insurance cost.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 10:13:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How in the world can Europe, Canada, (3+ / 0-)

    .... just about every powerful nation in the west and most in the east, provide for universal health care, pretty good benefits, and wages, and the US can't because the cost will be added into our products and we won't be competitive?

  •  Your poll needs another option (0+ / 0-)

    My husband's employer has only a couple dozen employees, so they are unaffected by ACA.  Lucky for us, we get good health coverage from my job.  But if we had to rely on his job, we'd be SOL.

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 04:56:58 AM PST

  •  Of course by cutting employee hours they will have (0+ / 0-)

    saved the money necessary to cover the employees.

    I suspect most places that are doing this are just looking for a way to cut pay and benefits anyway and this gives them a scapegoat.

    However over the long haul the more uninsured workers they create the great the pressure and logic to have universal mandated health insurance.

    Not to mention that an employer that has a shitty attitude toward their employees usually gets that attitude back in full measure and there are consequences to that if employees aren't putting the same effort into their work.

  •  Not a mistake. (0+ / 0-)

    A real reflection that penalty per head is genuinely unaffordable for businesses that either have a small or transient payroll (or combination of both).  There's at least 4.5 million such businesses.  For that reason, ACA provides a substantial subsidy for those employees to enter the individual market.  That a small number of firms not originally envisioned in this category can take advantage is an expected and manageable consequence of trying to rationalize such a huge sector of the American economy.  What matters most is that their workers have the means to access the health insurance market.

  •  For the life of me I don't get how the (0+ / 0-)

    ACA crafters could have been so blind to this issue - heck, it would have been easy enough to solve by simply prorating part timers to a full time basis (e.g., somebody who works 27.5 hours a week would require contributions 27.5 / 40 of a full time employee).

    And there should be no exemptions for small businesses - just put everybody in the same boat and competition will be the same for everybody - heck, isn't that what Republicans have long asked for - a level playing field?

    Finally, put a tax on all goods coming from countries (such as China) that don't provide universal, single payer health care.

  •  Same thing happens with single payer (0+ / 0-)

    In Europe, youth unemployment is at a persistently high rate and part-time work is practically non-existent. Employers cannot afford to take on additional workers.

    Changing to a single-payer won't solve the fact that many seasonal and low-wage employers will shed workers. It's a trade-off. Higher unemployment for generous benefits.

    •  hahahaha! gee, single payer seems to work in (0+ / 0-)

      every country that has it! rw neocons like you can't stand the fact that govts have made non-privatized healthcare work.  suck on that.

      european unemployment is high in countries that followed the advice of american bankers.  duhhh.

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