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Obamacare says what? Not even Congress knows

April 28. 2013 12:08AM

Politico reported last week that leaders in Congress were busy working on a secret deal to exempt themselves and their aides from Obamacare. Then again, maybe they were not, other outlets reported. Regardless of whether this was a fix or an end-run (it appears to be an attempt to fix problematic language), it is a sign of numerous bad things to come.

Three years after Obamacare became law, Congress cannot agree on what it actually says. Most of the lawmakers arguing about it were in office three years ago. This is a law they were supposed to have read. Yet they cannot decide on the meaning of a single provision governing the law's applicability to Congress. How are employers supposed to understand the entire thing?

As Congress struggles to understand and comply with what it passed, so do employers. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last week that colleges and universities are reducing the hours worked by adjunct faculty because of Obamacare. Adjuncts typically are not paid by the hour, but by the course. Obamacare mandates health insurance coverage for full-time employees of all "large" employers. Adjuncts now have to track their hours, like lawyers do, and their employers are pushing them to cut back to ensure that they are counted as part-time.

These kinds of bureaucratic headaches are being replicated all over America, from mom-and-pop businesses to Congress. And more of them are coming. It is one heck of a way to find out what is in the law.

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