A new report finds that health care reform would reduce the number of people receiving employer-based coverage, increase dependence on government-sponsored health care, and raise the national deficit. But the analysis, released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, isn’t an examination of President Obama’s signature health care law. It details the consequences of one of the GOP’s bills to amend it.
The proposal, which Republicans voted for in the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month, would alter the definition of full time employment under the Affordable Care Act from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week and exempt more businesses from penalties for not offering employer-based insurance or lower the overall penalty burden. Under existing law, employers with more than 50 workers pay a penalty if their full-time employees (defined as working an average of 30 hours a week) receive subsidized coverage in the law’s health care exchanges.
CBO concluded that the GOP proposal would lead to the very same problems Republicans have identified in Obamacare. H.R.2575 would reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage by 1 million, increase “the number of people obtaining coverage through Medicaid” or the health care exchanges by between 500,000 and 1 million, and raise the budget deficits by $73.7 billion. The ranks of the uninsured would also grow by “less than 500,000 people.”
Enacting the proposal “would probably provide an incentive for some employers to redefine work hours so that more employees would be categorized as part-time,” the report continues. “Because many more workers work 40 hours per week (or slightly more) than work 30 hours per week (or slightly more), the changes made by H.R.2575 could affect many more workers than are affected under current law.”
The bill, which has attracted 208 sponsors (including 8 Democrats), could come to a vote in the House “as early as next week.”