Barack Obama is a former adjunct professor of constitutional law, and no group has been more solidly supportive of his liberal agenda than the professorial class. So it is a sweet irony that the latest group getting hammered by the mandates of Obamacare are … wait for it … adjunct professors.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The federal health-care overhaul is prompting some colleges and universities to cut the hours of adjunct professors. [...] The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more starting in 2014, or face a penalty. The mandate is a particular challenge for colleges and universities, which increasingly rely on adjuncts to help keep costs down as states have scaled back funding for higher education.
A handful of schools, including Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and Youngstown State University in Ohio, have curbed the number of classes that adjuncts can teach in the current spring semester to limit the schools’ exposure to the health-insurance requirement.
The professors are understandably confused. Robert Balla, an adjunct professor of English at Stark State College, in North Canton, Ohio received a letter in which he was told that “in order to avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act…employees with part-time or adjunct status will not be assigned more than an average of 29 hours per week.” He told the Journal that the move cut his $40,000 salary by about $2,000 and that he cannot afford health insurance.
“I think it goes against the spirit of the [health-care] law,” Mr. Balla said. “In education, we’re working for the public good, we are public employees at a public institution; we should be the first ones to uphold the law, to set the example.”
A spokeswoman for Stark State explained the realities of the market. The new rules were necessary “to maintain the fiscal stability of the college. There are a lot of penalties involved if adjuncts go over their 29 hours-per-week average. The college can be fined and the fines are substantial.”
Really? Substantial penalties? You don’t say.
You can just imagine the outraged conversations in the faculty lounge now: “We’re professors. I thought stuff like this only happened to manual laborers at Wendy’s and Taco Bell!”
Looks like the academy is finally getting a lesson in the costs of big government liberalism.