The Republican Obamacare repeal assault will begin this week, when both chambers are expected to vote to exploit workers
and take employer-sponsored insurance away from as many as 1.5 million people. What Republicans say they are doing is restoring full-time work, what they're really doing is giving incentive to employers to make people work an almost 40-week without health insurance benefits. The employer mandate in Obamacare kicks in this year. It requires companies that have 50 or more employees either provide insurance to 95 percent of their full-time employees or pay a fine, and defines full-time work as 30 hours per week. Republicans want to change that definition to 40 hours.
"I call this the 'send people home a half hour early on Friday and deny them health insurance' bill," says Tim Jost, a health care law scholar at the Washington and Lee University School of Law who has consulted with the Obama administration on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that it would mean half a million people losing insurance immediately, and the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that it would force one million onto Medicaid—increasing the federal deficit by $73.7 billion over 10 years. That's just one reason some on the right
don't like this idea.
Writing this weekend in National Review, Yuval Levin, a conservative popular with House Republicans, said the legislation "seems likely to be worse than doing nothing." His rationale is that there are many more people who work 40 hours a week than just over 30, and that it would be easier for an employer to cut their hours to 39 a week to avoid offering them insurance than to 29.
House Republicans previously tried to force this legislative change through a spending bill, but the Democratic-controlled Senate stripped it. They could do it again this year, passing it with a Republican Senate. That could force President Obama's hand, if a potential government shut-down was at stake. But that's if this change is enough for the tea party contingent in congress which is still spoiling for full repeal.