Skip to content

Rep. Young takes on the law of unintended consequences

February 04, 2014

By Editorial Board

The law of unintended consequences reared up again last week when the Monroe County Community School Corp. reduced the amount of time substitute teachers can work because of concerns about the Affordable Care Act. If subs were to work more than 29 hours a week, they would qualify for health insurance coverage.

The act seeks the right thing, which is for more Americans to be insured. But in reality, it’s hurting the very people it’s trying to help because employers that would have to pay for their health care are instead reducing their employees’ hours.

Ninth District U.S. Rep. Todd Young, a Republican who represents Monroe County, has recognized this problem and filed legislation to correct it. Young has introduced what he and co-authors are calling the Save  American Workers Act, which would repeal the 30-hour definition of “full-time employment” in the ACA. We support this common-sense change.

As Young notes, full-time status has long been defined as the 40-hour week. It’s recognized as such by federal guidelines that require time-and-a-half be paid for any work beyond the 40-hour full-time threshold.

Young’s bill is similar to one in the Senate, the Forty Hours is Full Time Act, brought forth late last year by Hoosier Democrat Joe Donnelly and three others.

Both Young and Donnelly recognize that what the ACA intended and what has transpired are two different things. It’s nice to think employers would simply add insurance for employees when they work 30 to 39 hours a week, but that’s not happening. They’re cutting their hours instead. Young and Donnelly both want to remove their incentive to do that, and we agree with their efforts.