The “Save American Workers Act,” which has over 200 GOP sponsors, would change the 30-hour definition of full-time work in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to 40 hours. An analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CB) says that this act would cost 1 million workers their health insurance, and add $74 billion to the deficit.
Most of these people would then get their coverage through Medicaid, CHIP, or on the ACA’s exchanges. Some would probably remain uninsured and just pay the penalty. The projected deficit increase would come from a decrease in the penalties that businesses would pay for noncompliance.
The GOP would force a million cancellations, when a lot of their platform is based on cancellations under the ACA.
The problem for the GOP is that they’ve been screaming for a long time about Obama’s broken promise: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” The ACA has had serious problems, yes, and insurance companies have been cancelling plans, though there are some darker reasons than the ACA for that. Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who’s challenging Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) this year, said over the weekend:
“Five million Americans face cancellations, and the president’s own estimates predict that tens of millions more will lose their plan. Many more are losing access to their family doctors, specialists and local hospitals. And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects Obamacare will cost the equivalent of at least two-and-a-half million full-time jobs.”
An attack ad against Democrat Alex Sink, of Florida, which the Florida Republican Committee paid for, said:
“300,000 Floridians will lose their current health plans, $700 billion (was) cut from Medicare for seniors and now nonpartisan government analysts say Obamacare will cost our economy up to 2.5 million jobs. Yet Alex Sink still supports it.”
And yet, by “protecting American workers,” by changing the definition of “full-time” in the ACA, they would force even more plan cancellations. The ACA is supposed to be the GOP’s golden ticket to victory in November. They believe this so strongly, according to an article in today’s Washington Post, nearly every GOP advertising dollar spent so far against congressional Democratic candidates has had to do with the ACA.
Some Republicans think the party’s focusing way too hard on the ACA.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal warned that Republicans could be trying too hard. He believes that the Democrats are self-destructing when it comes to the ACA, and that the GOP should just stay out of their way. He also said that the GOP has to be offering detailed alternatives to the ACA. They can’t just talk about repeal, which is all they have been doing.
They’ve also been complaining about the president giving a break to businesses. Earlier in February, Obama announced another delay in the employer mandate for small businesses until 2016. Republicans seized on that as another break for corporations, while regular Americans struggle under the individual mandate. Yet, this particular bill is also a break to businesses. They would be allowed to yank plans out from under people working less than 40 hours.
Increasing numbers of Americans support the ACA, including the individual mandate.
44% of Americans do agree with the ACA’s individual mandate now, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, with 46% opposed and 10% undecided. That opposition was down from 58% in December. Just over 50% have an unfavorable opinion of the ACA in general.
One interesting point that the Rasmussen poll found is that 40% of Americans now favor a single-payer system. They believe that the government should provide healthcare coverage for every American. Vermont has a vote for a single-payer system coming up in 2015. For 2014, the GOP is trying to take control of that state.
This isn’t about “saving American workers.” They still don’t care about everyday Americans. It’s about trying to gut the ACA, so they can look better to their backers.