The latest dis of the Affordable Health Care Act is that it took 18 pages to define what constitutes a full time employee. The other complaint is that the criteria is 30 hours per week instead of 40.
So why does it take 18 pages to define what a full time worker is? Actually, the definition is pretty straightforward: a worker that regularly works 30 or more hours per week is a full time employee. The rest of the document describes the various methods of determining if an employer has 50 or more full time employees and is therefore required to provide health insurance to those employees.
If you stop and think about it, the whole thing can get pretty complicated. Seasonal employers may have less than 50 for awhile, then more than 50 for awhile. What do they do, provide health insurance while there are more than 50 then drop it after the busy season? The answer is that the memo provides a couple of methods for the employer to average their employee load using various length periods.
So what was the definition of full-time employee before this? Well, it turns out that the government didn’t have one. Individual employers were free to define it as they pleased. But as it turns out, the one consistent definition of a full time employee that has prevailed for decades is that of group health insurance providers. Yep, it’s 30 hours per week. That’s how many hours per week an employee has to regularly work to qualify to be in an employer’s group insurance plan.
I’m still waiting for some legitimate complaints of this law that justify the hyperbole that has been generated against it. Counting the pages in a memo from the IRS that just codifies what has generally been the case for years seems like just another indication that there really isn’t any legitimate objection.
I know there are a few readers out there who don’t like me pointing out that the king has no clothes, but I welcome any comment that would help me understand why this is such a bad law that it merits immediate repeal. Even Romney is starting to realize that he as no substantive argument for when this comes up in the debates. He’s been busy trying to modify his stance to say that he would keep various parts of the law like elimination of preexisting conditions. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to realize that is why the insurance companies are insisting on the individual mandate.
Arithmetic. It doesn’t add up.