HomeWashington Letter2015 ▶ House-Passed Bill Would Change Eligibility for ACA Coverage
House-Passed Bill Would Change Eligibility for ACA Coverage

January 2015

In the continuing effort to chip away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the House this week passed a bill that would redefine the definition of full-time work under the ACA's employer mandate. Under the ACA's work week definition mandate that is set to begin this month, businesses with 50 or more employees will be required to offer health insurance to any employee who works at least 30 hours or pay a penalty. The House bill, entitled the Save American Workers Act, would change the definition of a full-time worker under the ACA from 30 hours a week to 40 hours. The bill passed the chamber by a vote of 252 to 172.

House Republicans have stated that setting the work week at 40 hours will prevent businesses from cutting mainly low-paid worker hours in order to avoid insurance coverage. The Congressional Budget Office, however, estimates the legislation could result in 1 million people being dropped from employer coverage, raising the number of uninsured people by hundreds of thousands, at a cost of $53.2 billion over 10 years.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where it has some Democratic support, possibly enough to gain 60 votes to overcome Democratic leadership opposition. The bill has little chance of becoming law, however, as the President has promised a veto if it reaches his desk.

Last Reviewed: October 2017