Small ball with no leverage: GOP's 40-hour workweek folly

The allure of 40
The allure of 40

The Cato Institute’s Michael F. Cannon is a foe of the Affordable Care Act, which means I disagree with him most of the time. But he’s right on the money with his ten-point teardown of the Republican Congress’ first salvo against Obamacare.

The bill would redefine a full-time worker as someone who works 40 hours per week, rather than 30. That makes it easier for employers to meet the mandate to offer health insurance to full-time workers. It’s essentially a loosening of the mandate, which will benefit low-wage service companies.

Cannon thinks this move is a bad idea. I strongly agree with his first and last points:

  • The legislation would increase government spending by pushing more people onto the exchanges and Medicaid
  • It would create an incentive to reduce employees’ hours to just under 40 per week. A whole ton of people would be affected by that maneuver; orders of magnitude more than the number near the current 30 hour threshold

His other eight points are about why the 40-hour bill weakens the overall Republican attempt to dump Obamacare. (At one point he writes, “House Republicans are playing small ball with no leverage. How is that strategically smart?”) I agree with his analysis, but unlike him I’m not bothered that the GOP continues to flail.

photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


One thought on “Small ball with no leverage: GOP's 40-hour workweek folly”

  1. The change to a 40 hour work-week just to shift most workers to government subsidization is way to transparent. Instead, a better formula would be all employers must pay the health care costs for every employee. Certainly would be an incentive to hire full time workers!

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