U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) issued the following joint statement after requesting the Department of Labor provide an analysis that describes how the president's health care law will affect the wages of America's workers:
By this time next year, employers will have to choose between paying higher taxes and providing costly government-approved health insurance. This new mandate is already forcing businesses to make some difficult decisions. The Department of Labor has a legal obligation to study how the health care law will affect workers' wages, yet it has failed to do so. Meanwhile, the federal bureaucracy is busy implementing the law at a time when wages are stagnant and 12 million are searching for work. It's time the department provided the public with an analysis of how the recent government takeover of health care will affect the take-home pay of America's workers.
NOTE: Under the 2010 health care law, employers with more than 50 full-time employees are required to pay new tax penalities if one or more employees receive taxpayer support through a public health insurance exchange. The law defines a full-time employee as someone working 30 or more hours per week. Commonly referred to as the employer mandate, the requirement will lead some employers to cut the size of their workforce and/or reduce the number of hours employees can work. Section 1513(c) of the health care law directs the Secretary of Labor to study whether employees' wages will be reduced as a result of the employer mandate. To date, the department has not completed the study. As the Republican members state in their letter:
According to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 71 percent of small businesses believe implementation of PPACA will make it more difficult to hire employees. These comments mirror those received by the Federal Reserve and those we have received from employers in our home states. It is crucial that the administration understands the implications of the PPACA-created tax penalties on employment prior to finalizing the regulations for 2014.