Obama Threatens Veto Of Increase Of Hours In Health Care Law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Wednesday said President Barack Obama will veto legislation that would increase his health care law's definition of a full-time worker from 30 to 40 hours per week.

         Republicans argue the health law's 30-hour requirement is encouraging companies to cut workers' hours. The White House said in statement there is no evidence the law has caused a broad shift to part-time work.

         The House plans to debate the measure this week as one of its first orders of business in the new Congress.

         The White House said the bill would reduce the number of Americans with employer-based health insurance coverage and create incentives for employers to shift employees to part-time work. The White House also said the bill would increase the deficit by $45.7 billion over 10 years.

         In a similar analysis, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the legislation would mean 1 million fewer people receiving health coverage at work. Half or more of them would then turn to coverage from programs like Medicaid or from the health insurance exchanges, leaving a nearly 500,000 increase in the number of uninsured people.

         The budget office also estimated that the legislation would boost federal deficits by $53.2 billion over the next decade. That's in part because more people would be getting government-paid health coverage.

         Brendan Buck, spokesman for Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, responded that Obama "is showing once again that protecting his law is a higher priority than protecting these workers' wages."

         – by AP Reporter Nedra Pickler

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