Luke Messer wants Obamacare exemption for schools

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When Obamacare takes effect at the first of the year it will require employers with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance to those who put in 30 or more hours a week. 

They're considered full-time workers. Indiana Congressman Luke Messer is worried about the effect that will have on schools.

It's because schools rely on a lot of part-time help and the new law provides an incentive to cut the hours many of them put in.  Messer wants schools to be exempt from the requirement to offer health insurance.

The Indianapolis Public Schools are among the districts calculating the cost of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as it's commonly known. 

Hundreds of employees at IPS will be affected. 

"You're talking about substitute teachers, you're talking about substitute on-call bus drivers," says spokesman John Althart, "and bus attendants." 

Those people are likely to see reductions in their hours and that will make them tougher to keep and recruit.

It's why Rep. Messer just introduced a bill to exempt both public and private schools as well as universities from the health insurance requirement. 

"This is a response to school districts all across the state of Indiana," said Messer, "who are saying it will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if Obamacare applies to them."

Messer is an opponent of the President's health care plan and hopes his bill will lead to a bigger debate, but that comes later. 

"I support full repeal of the Obamacare law for every American," he said, "but it seems to me there's a unique impact here on schools and student learning."

Messer will find support at IPS. 

"Anything that will give us more flexibility, allow us to attract and retain quality employees," says Althart, "is something that we certainly think is in the best interest of our children."

And Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly introduced a bill today that would go even further, giving an Obamacare exemption to small businessmen. Donnelly's bill would also define "full-time" as 40 hours a week.

He calls it a common sense improvement to health care reform.


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