The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Politics

January 25, 2014

Donnelly, Brooks support ACA changes

Changing definition of full-time employment sought

ANDERSON — Two Congressional members of opposing political parties are attempting to make changes in Obamacare concerning what is considered full-time employment.

During interviews this week with The Herald Bulletin, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, both indicated they are seeking changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

As defined in the ACA, a full-time employee is anyone who works 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month to be considered eligible for health care insurance through their employer.

Donnelly said he has co-sponsored legislation to change the ACA definition of full-time employment back to 40 hours.

“There is a given assumption that full-time employment is 40 hours,” he said.

Donnelly said to consider full-time employment at 30 hours is not a reflection of how employers view a full-time employee.

He said at the 30 hour per week level, people saw their work hours reduced.

“We’re trying to get those hours back,” Donnelly said. “There is an understanding between businesses and their employees that full-time is 40 hours.

Donnelly said many Democrats want to leave the ACA as currently written and Republicans want to repeal it.

“We don’t want to repeal it, we want to make it better,” he said.

Medical costs increased only 3.7 percent in 2012, the last year data is available, which is the lowest percentage increase in decades, Donnelly said. He said in 2007 the increase was more than 6 percent.

“As a percentage of the GNP (gross national product) health care costs went down,” Donnelly said.

Brooks said Republicans want to remove the 30-hour definition of a full-time employee.

“We can repeal that part,” she said of the ACA. “But it won’t happen with this administration. The pieces that are hurting the people the most, how can we take it out of the legislation?”

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