[JURIST] A White House [official website] spokesperson said Wednesday that US President Barack Obama would veto proposed legislation [statement, PDF] that would reinstate the 40-hour work week requirement for employer health care coverage. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text, PDF] reduced the original 40-hour work week requirement to 30 hours in order to ensure more Americans would be covered by employers, but supporters of Save American Workers Act [HR 30 materials] argue the opposite has occurred. Supporters of the bill argue that the ACA has caused many employers to cut employee work hours in order to avoid having to cover those employees that met this threshold. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would cost taxpayers 47.5 billion dollars to shift back to a 40-hour work week requirement. The White House said the bill “would shift costs to taxpayers, put workers’ hours at risk, and disrupt health insurance coverage.” A spokesman for Representative Paul Ryan, the new House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, stated the current 30-hour standard is not covering more employees but rather depriving part-time workers of hours and therefore income they rely on.
Obama’s health care reform [JURIST feature] has caused continued debate and legal action since it was passed in 2010. There have been questions of the law’s constitutionality [JURIST op-ed] in general, and recently a lawsuit challenging [JURIST report] the individual mandate was thrown out of court. In August the US Department of Health and Human Services [official website] issued proposed rules [JURIST report] to revise which for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations are exempt from the contraception mandate of the ACA. In January 2014, Chief Justice Roberts refused[JURIST report] to grant a temporary injunction blocking the Obama administration from enforcing the ACA.