Bipartisan Group Wants to Exempt Student-Workers from Obamacare

Isn't everyone else languishing under the effects of Obamacare entitled to exemptions as well?


Mark Meadows
Mark Meadows / U.S. House of Representatives

Some lawmakers want to exempt student-workers from provisions of the Affordable Care Act, out of concern that universities will have to cut students' work hours to prevent them from qualifying for coverage.

I highlighted this issue last week; it's particularly vexing for student-journalists, who often work more than 30 hours a week, especially if they also hold additional campus jobs (like in the bookstore or cafeteria).

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) is proposing legislation to address the problem. His bill, which has attracted support from Republicans, Democrats, and even higher education administrators, would exempt student-workers from the employer mandate:

Under the ACA—commonly referred to as Obamacare— colleges and universities will soon be required to provide health insurance for student employees who work more than 30 hours a week for 3 months or more, including summer breaks. Due to this new requirement, many schools will be forced to cut student jobs.

"This provision in the ACA will be extremely costly to colleges and universities, forcing many to cut student workers," Rep. Meadows said. "At a time when tuition costs are constantly rising and student loan debt has hit a record high at $1.08 trillion, on-campus employment opportunities are relied on by students across the country to help pay the cost of their tuition."

"This bill will prevent colleges and universities from having to cut student work hours under the ACA and will allow students to continue to support themselves and their educational aspirations," Meadows said.

That's all well and good, though I can't help but wonder: Isn't everyone else languishing under the effects of Obamacare entitled to exemptions as well?

Hat tip: Inside Higher Ed