ObamaCare is a losing proposition

There is much talk about the “winners and losers” under Obamacare. Many of the losers are obvious – the millions upon millions of Americans suffering from cancelled insurance plans, skyrocketing premiums and out of pocket costs, and those losing access to the doctors, hospitals and medications they know and trust.

But accurately defining who is winning under Obamacare is a different story. This law is fundamentally altering our economy, creating disincentives for employers to hire and for employees to even enter the labor force. Our labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since the Carter Administration, and at a House Budget Committee hearing in February when I had the opportunity to ask Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf what effect reduced labor force participation would have on our economy, he told me pointedly that it will be “the central factor in slowing economic growth.”

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Slowing economic growth will mean reduced opportunity for all Americans, regardless of how you get your health insurance. And to make matters worse, the Obamacare 30-hour full time work rule will further inflict unneeded pain on our nation’s workers. That’s right, instead of defining a full time employee as someone who works the traditional 40 hour work week, the great minds behind Obamacare decided that employers must adopt a 30-hour standard when deciding to whom they are required to offer health insurance. This distorts the labor marker by giving employers a perverse incentive to cap the hours employees work in order to avoid costly Obamacare fines and penalties.

Like many elements of this crumbling law, it is yet to be seen whether this employer mandate will ever be fully implemented. But regardless, it’s important to note who the losers under this rule would be.

According to a study by Stanford’s Hoover Institute, 2.6 million Americans making under $30,000 are at risk of having their hours and wages cut as a result of ObamaCare’s 30-hour work week rule.  These low income workers are precisely the sort that are supposed to benefit from Obamacare. In fact, of those millions of workers, 90 percent do not have a college degree, and 60 percent are between the ages of 19 and 34 – making the 30-hour rule particularly damaging for low-skilled American workers. And for all the talk we hear about a supposed “war on women,” 63 percent of those adversely affected by this arbitrary 30 hour rule are female workers.

In response to Obamacare’s war on jobs, my colleague on the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Todd Young (R-Ind.), has introduced bipartisan legislation that will be considered on the House floor this week. H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, would protect hardworking Americans by repealing Obamacare’s 30-hour definition of full-time employment and replacing it with the traditional 40-hour work week.  This would help protect the wages of low income workers by restoring their ability to work their normal hours.

Sadly, in an America under Obamacare, there are few winners. Whether through skyrocketing costs, reduced access and cancelled plans, or limited economic opportunity, the American people are hurting under this misguided law. Passing this bipartisan bill through Congress and sending it to the president’s desk is one small way we can ease the pain for American workers.

Black has represented Tennessee's 6th Congressional District since 2011. She sits on the Budget and the Ways and Means committees.

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