(CNN) — Sen. Marco Rubio took President Barack Obama to task on the issue of health care during the Republican response to the State of the Union.
“Obamacare was supposed to help middle-class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren’t hiring. Not only that; they’re being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.”
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires companies with more than 50 full-time employees (defined as working more than 30 hours a week) to provide health insurance that meets standards set by the Department of Health and Human Services. The cost can be significant. McDonald’s says the law will raise costs by $10,000 to $30,000 for each franchise.
Several companies with low-wage workers — including Wal-Mart and Darden, which operates Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants — have said they plan to trim health costs by using more part-time workers.
The direct impact isn’t clear, but last week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that by 2022, 7 million fewer people will be covered by employer-sponsored health benefits. That’s nearly double the 4 million it projected a year ago.
What Rubio doesn’t say is that many people losing employer-sponsored benefits will obtain insurance through government-run exchanges. The CBO predicts that 27 million more Americans who would otherwise be uninsured will have insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.
So Rubio’s claims are true, but they are only part of the health care story.
By Caleb Hellerman
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