Employers say health care act is forcing them to make cuts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - More and more employers say they are hiring part-time workers in order to avoid paying for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

It has happened at least twice around the metro in the last month. Liberty Hospital laid off more than 120 employees, and the Kansas Turnpike Authority confirmed it is cutting back the hours of some part-time employees to under 30 hours.
     
Both of them blamed the Affordable Care Act.

Large businesses are not required to provide insurance to part-time employees who work 29 hours or less.
     
The owner of Kansas City's Superior Linen Supply said he will have to do something to afford the estimated $200,000 increase in health care costs for full-timers.

"We hear people talking about if you just go to all part time employees ... less than 30 hours then you don't have a problem but I don't like playing games just to beat a rule," owner Bill Kartsonis said.

According to research by UC Berkeley, an estimated 2.3 million workers nationwide are at risk of losing hours as employers adjust to the new math of workplace benefits.

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt said in Parkville on Tuesday that some businesses are already trying to reduce to under 50 employees to avoid the 2014 insurance mandate.
      
But Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said the Affordable Care Act will ultimately bring health insurance coverage to more Americans than in the past.

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