Obamacare Forcing Colleges to Cut Teachers’ Hours

by Christopher Paslay

To avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act, adjunct professors at some universities will not be assigned more than an average of 29 hours per week.

Philadelphia School District officials are not the only ones facing tough economic times.  Across the country, America’s colleges and universities are struggling financially, especially now that the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect.  To avoid new requirements that they provide healthcare to anyone working over 30 hours per week, many colleges are cutting the number of hours worked by adjunct professors.

As stated in American Interest Magazine: “This is terrible news for a lot of people; 70 percent of professors work as adjuncts and many will now have to cope with a major pay cut just as requirements that they buy their own health insurance go into effect.”

According to The Wall Street Journal:

In Ohio, instructor Robert Balla faces a new cap on the number of hours he can teach at Stark State College. In a Dec. 6 letter, the North Canton school told him that “in order to avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act…employees with part-time or adjunct status will not be assigned more than an average of 29 hours per week.”

Mr. Balla, a 41-year-old father of two, had taught seven English composition classes last semester, split between Stark State and two other area schools. This semester, his course load at Stark State is down to one instead of two as a result of the school’s new limit on hours, cutting his salary by about a total of $2,000.

Stark State’s move came as a blow to Mr. Balla, who said he earns about $40,000 a year and cannot afford health insurance.

“I think it goes against the spirit of the [health-care] law,” Mr. Balla said. “In education, we’re working for the public good, we are public employees at a public institution; we should be the first ones to uphold the law, to set the example.”

Maybe some of these adjuncts can brush-up on their accounting skills and apply to the IRS to supplement their hours.  Word has it the IRS is hiring 16,500 new agents to enforce Obamacare’s tax code.

8 thoughts on “Obamacare Forcing Colleges to Cut Teachers’ Hours

  1. Chris states,

    “To avoid new requirements that they provide healthcare to anyone working over 30 hours per week, many colleges are cutting the number of hours worked by adjunct professors.

    Are you saying that colleges today do not provide health care for to their adjunct professors?

    And then you state that Stark State’s move came as a blow to Mr. Balla, who said he earns about $40,000 a year and cannot afford health insurance.

    I am confused, colleges don’t want to provide health insurance to adjunct professors and yet they don’t pay them enough so they can buy health care.

    Isn’t the main reason for the Affordable Health Care Act to figure out a way to get insurance for people who do not have it because their place of work does not provide it.

    I am always amused when folks like you who have government paid for health insurance don’t want to see the the same government try to figure out a way to help others get what you have.

    Remember the ACC was a compromise. President Obama and the Democrats wanted a public option, and that would have let colleges continue to pay adjunct professors salaries that are not enough to buy health care. Those professors could have gone to a public option.

    By the way, I know a retired college professor from a local PA state teachers college whose health care is paid for for life which includes all his Medicare expenses. Maybe the colleges are too generous with their full time professors and need to rethink what they get and what the adjunct professors get.

    It would all be so much easier if we had a public option. I would be the first to join that choice. Now I am stuck with one company and their prices which are staggering to a retirees pocketbook. If I don’t like what they charge, too bad, no one else will take me because of pre-existing conditions, which are just about any illness you ever had in your life time.

    And Governor Corbett continues to drag his feet on the state run exchanges which will wave the pre-existing condition requirement. That would be another choice for me. Funny folks like you who like the free market and choice and taking care of yourself continue to make it hard for me to enjoy choice in health care so I can take care of my own health care. What gives Chris?


    • Forbes Magazine: Health Insurance Brokers Prepare Clients For Obamacare Sticker Shock

      By Dr. Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

      “A California insurance broker, who sells health plans to individuals and small businesses, told me that she’s prepping her clients for a sticker shock. Her local carriers are hinting to her that premiums may triple this fall, when the plans unveil how they’ll billet the full brunt of Obamacare’s new regulations and mandates.

      California is hardly alone. Around the country, insurers are fixing to raise rates by double digits. They’re privately briefing politicians in Washington on what’s in store. Those briefings are leaving a lot of folks up and down Pennsylvania Avenue jumpy.

      What’s gives? President Obama, after all, said he’d prevent these sorts of prices. His new health law gave state regulators the power to block premium increases. It even created a federal agency to oversee insurance rates. But these bureaucrats are spectators to the price hikes. They’re mere wallflowers. Even in the bluest of states.

      Their silence is the best evidence of who is culpable for the increases. It’s the policymakers. It’s Obamacare. The President is accepting the premium hikes as an allowable consequence of his healthcare policies.

      There’s buzz in Washington that to ease the price hikes, the Obama team may slow down some of the most expensive regulations. This might include the law’s mandatory community rating. One approach they’re said to be considering is allowing some of the historically based underwriting to stay in place for a time.

      But premiums will still rise because, in the end, everything has a price. The law’s prohibition against traditional insurance underwriting is just one of its costly provisions. Washington can try to force health plans to price insurance below the cost of these mandates. But then the health plans will simply lose money and move out of markets. To keep the insurers whole, and accommodate new rules, the cost of insurance must get re-priced higher. That re-pricing is what’s coming this fall. . . .”

  2. Chris,

    Premiums are going up already. This is not news. My premiums have gone from about $450/month when I retired in 2006 to the current price of $1500/month. That seems pretty steep to me. To decrease my premium this year to $1100/month I took a $6,000 deductible/coinsurance plan. My husband has the same deal. We each have to spend $6,000 before we get 100% coverage and that is on top of paying $1100/month. Next year, with or without ACC, it will probably go up to $1200/month and my deductible with probably go to $7,000. It increases every year. So I am already losing the health care battle. I am not sure how it could be any worse.

    I am already suffering from sticker shock and ACC is not here yet. So your link is not news to me.


  3. The Affordable Care Act does not kick in until 2014. It was designed so that everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions, will have access to medical care. That is how it should be! This country must take care of its people, and I applaud President Obama for his actions. Your disdain for all things Obama has become the norm, and is getting quite tiresome. While you and your family reap the benefits of FREE school district medical coverage, considered to be the Rolls Royce of health insurance, you have no empathy for those without that luxury.and seem to want to begrudge those who can’t afford it. Put yourself in their shoes.

    • Hey Stephanie,

      “Free” health coverage? You sound like you’re a very caring individual, but very naïve. It would be great if things in life were free, if there were such things as perpetual motion machines where you could get something from nothing, but that’s not the case. Allow me to explain where my “free” healthcare comes from. In 2012 I paid the following taxes:

      Federal Income tax: $12,503.55
      FICA: $3,320.64
      FICA MED: $1,146.41
      State Tax: $2,427.07
      City Wage Tax: $3,105.52
      Unemployment Tax: $63.17

      Grand Total in 2012: $22,566.36—28.5% of my salary. I also pay union dues for a collective bargaining unit that fights for these “free” benefits, which means union members that have come before me fought and went out on strike and gave up money for the cause. I also live in the city and paid $30,000 for a masters degree and took out thousands in loans for a bachelors degree and have worked every day of my life since I was 14 years old. What benefits I have I’ve EARNED. I’ve obeyed the law and made good decisions.

      Nothing in life is free, no matter your social class or circumstances, that’s what I don’t think you realize. SOMEBODY PAYS FOR IT. I want everyone to have access to quality health care just like you do. My point isn’t that we shouldn’t try to help people in need—it’s that Obamacare is irresponsible, based on bogus information, and will end up hurting the health care system and economy in the end. I DISAGREE WITH THE POLICY. It sounds great in theory, but it’s unsustainable. It’s reckless. It will compromise our children and future generations.

      Do you see the financial mess the Philadelphia School District is in right now? Just wait. This will be health care in 10 years if nothing is done to reform ACA. The economy is heading down the same path. You can’t borrow, print your own money, and run up a debt in excess of $16.5 trillion and fail to even pass a budget/ balance a budget. It doesn’t work. There needs to be a batter balance and a more responsible approach (I won’t get into this now).

      What you reap is what you sow. Period. NOTHING IS FREE.

  4. Chris,

    The ACC is the best that our current Congress was able to pass. It needs tweaking. I think most people would agree with that. You have to start somewhere because our current system is not working for many many folks. When you retire and your health care plan ends you will then get to experience the real world of health care. It ain’t pretty out here.

    Agree, nothing is free. Taxpayers pay for public employees health care with our tax dollars. Most private sector workers pay all those taxes you listed plus they pay some fee for their health care. My husband paid for health care his entire working career. Many private sector plans now have large deductibles before coverage starts.. I always knew when I was working and getting Personal Choice for no extra cost to me other than those standard taxes you listed that I had a great deal. I knew when I retired that the great deal would be over. I just never knew the costs would climb so fast. Start saving your money because you are going to need it unless you plan to work till you are 65. Of course if you are younger than 55, which I think you are, you will probably have to work till you are 67 or 68 or even older because the Republicans are just dying to raise the Medicare age.


  5. One correction for Stephanie- the state health care exchanges will be open in the fall of 2013, that is this October, for people to begin shopping for their health care for 2014. So far Corbett has said PA will not participate so the Federal gov’t will have to come in and set up the exchanges. Makes no sense to me but this is what he is doing.

  6. Chris,

    The SDP could save a lot of money if it stopped paying for the health insurance of spouses who have jobs that provide health care. Private business does not do this. Where my husband worked the families even had to divide up the coverage for their children- half to one spouse’s insurance and half to the other person’s insurance.

    Charge teachers some amount of money for their health care cause as you say, nothing is free. Reduce the multiplier on the pensions. Stop paying the elementary teacher who has the safety club ( usually the teacher with the most seniority) $2,000 a year to run a safety patrol club which most schools no longer have. When is the last time you saw a student safety patrol on a city corner? This is just an old give away that continues to exist. I could go and on with give aways in the SDP.

    Cuts in spending are always for the other guy. Same at the federal level. It is easy to say stoping spending- but what do we stop spending on? Do you want to reduce the multiplier for your pension? Probably not but it would save money. Do you want to pay for your health insurance? Probably not but it would save money. You don’t have to get rid of everything-folks can pay more. Raise the income cut off on SS to $200,000. Charge wealthy people more for Medicare. There are ways to get more money for benefits most people like.


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