“The False Charge of The Right Brigade”or, “Into The Swamp of Speaker Boehner’s Mind Rode The Six Hundred”
This Tweet of Speaker John Boehner’s Just Did Not Seem Quite Right to Me . . . As Things Turn Out (Surprise!) It’s Not.
I have never done any fact checking, as fact checking is generally defined, primarily because there are so many others that do it for a living, and are many degrees of magnitude more skillful at it than I am.
Then I came upon the Tweet shown above on the Official Twitter Account (@SpeakerBoehner) which is supposedly the output of Speaker of The US House of Representatives, The Honorable John Boehner (R-OH).
After reading this Tweet I just HAD to take a crack at fact checking it because I have read recently that this shift to part time employment actually began long before the implementation of Obama Care. If true, that would seem to effectively debunk Conservative claims that “ObamaCare”, the Affordable Care Act, is causing employers to cut hours of their employees to avoid having to pay for their health insurance.
I followed the link to the newspaper, The Aspen Daily News, and in rode the Six Hundred.
Here I discovered, to my absolute horror, that the College concerned, Colorado Mountain College (CMC) did indeed have some 600 part time, euphemistically entitled “Adjunct” Professors who would be affected by these cuts in hours. I was horrified because the entire faculty at CMC only numbers 712 Professors, made up of the 600 adjunct and 112 “full-time” Professors.
So, Honorable Speaker Boehner, you would have readers believe that 600 out of 712 Professors are having their hours cut in order to avoid the College having to pay for their health insurance because, you know, “ObamaCare” ?
Not so fast, there, Mr. Speaker.
A bit further on in the article my initial horror is allayed as it is revealed that the Administration at CMC had already limited these adjunct Professors to 9 semester hours each. According to the College spokesperson’s own calculation, these 9 semester hours, when class preparation time and actual classroom teaching time are factored in, had been allowing all of the Six Hundred, with the exception of 27 Professors, a maximum work week of 27 hours.
Further revealed in the article is the fact that among those 27 Adjunct Professors who had been scheduled for more than 9 Semester Hours, there were only 6 who actually had to have their hours cut back as the remainder of the 27 had been scheduled to teach classes that did not fill due to insufficient enrollment. Those 6 had been scheduled for approximately 11 Semester Hours, or 33 hours per week.
But, Mt. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, doesn’t the ACA proscribe that an employer is NOT required to provide Health Insurance for employees that work less than 30 hours?
Are we to accept this as evidence upon which to base the Conservative’s demand to repeal The Affordable Care Act?
It appears to this humble Reader, Mr. Speaker that your example indicates a certain college had to curtail the work week of a total of 6 employees out of 600 (0.01%) by a total of 3 hours each, (0.09%), in order to continue to NOT provide them with Health Insurance.
Many reputable sources, a notable example being The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), have headlined that, “Health Reform Not Causing Significant Shift To Part-Time Work” .
Another policy think-tank, The Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) draws the comparison, and tracks the growth, of involuntary part time workers as a percentage of total employment. The numbers they use, citing The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, show that, “Involuntary Part Time Employment As A Share Of Total Employment” rose dramatically in the final throes of the George W. Bush administration, peaked during the economic meltdown (2007-2009), and has remained flat, or actually trending downwards since that point.