White House rejects suggestion healthcare act hurts jobs

July 16, 2013 at 4:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) -- A White House spokesman Tuesday rejected suggestions President Obama's healthcare act is reducing full-time employment, as opposed to part-time.

Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act's employer mandate -- which has been delayed -- employers with at least 50 full-time employees must offer affordable insurance or pay fines.

But a report in The Wall Street Journal said employers have added more part-time employees in 2013, about 93,000 a month, than full-time workers, averaging about 22,000 a month. The Journal said in 2012 employers hired 31,000 part-time workers and 171,000 full-time workers per month.

In response to reporters' questions, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the suggestion that employers are hiring part-time workers rather than full-time ones to avoid the employer mandate is "belied by the facts."

"I would say broadly that if you look at the economic data, the suggestion that the ACA is reducing full-time employment is ... belied by the facts," Carney said. "So, you know, what the ACA allows is the opportunity for individuals ... who could not prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act afford insurance to get insurance. And it provides subsidies for those who need help in affording it. And it assists businesses in that effort so that they can provide insurance to their employees. And, again, the ... broader data here does not reflect that assertion. You know, I don't have a specific response to the story you're citing. But I think the data is ... very clear on this."

The Hill said the employer mandate came under renewed scrutiny after the administration delayed it for an additional year because bureaucratic issues still needed to be resolved.

The administration has also said under the law businesses can pool with other employers to reduce their costs and achieve more competitive rates, The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, The Hill reported U.S. House Speaker John Boehner Tuesday blasted a weekend contention by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the act, commonly called Obamacare, has been "wonderful for America."

"Are you kidding me? If Obamacare is so wonderful, why are healthcare prices exploding?" Boehner, R-Ohio, asked on the House floor. "Why are millions of Americans getting kicked out of their plans? Why are so many workers losing their jobs or getting their hours cut?

"The law isn't wonderful, it's a train wreck, and you know it, I know it, and the American people know it," he said. "Even the president knows it, that's why he proposed delaying this mandate on employers."

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