LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher introduced a resolution on Thursday calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that the employer mandates in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not negatively affect Michigan’s community colleges.
“Obamacare contains many employer mandates that could significantly impact the cost of higher education in Michigan – especially our community colleges,” said Booher, chair of the community colleges budget subcommittee. “One community college testified that if the IRS adopts a higher standard in how employee status is determined for adjunct professors, it could increase their costs by $3 million. This level of higher costs would force community colleges to raise tuition — directly impacting Michigan students.”
Senate Resolution 37 urges the IRS to adopt a formula for the purpose of the ACA that determines full-time employment based on an assumption that adjunct professors work one hour outside of the classroom for each hour they teach.
Some organizations are urging the IRS to use a two-to-one ratio, assuming two hours worked outside of the classroom for each hour taught.
“Under the two-to-one ratio, an adjunct professor who teaches eight hours of classes would be considered a full-time employee and the colleges would be required to either give them full health care benefits or pay an Obamacare penalty,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The one-to-one ratio is a better reflection of the actual workloads for adjunct teaching faculty and would help our community colleges continue to offer an affordable higher education option.”
Booher said that his concern about this impact prompted him to include a boilerplate provision in the state’s community college budget that would require the colleges to estimate the financial impact of Obamacare on their institutions and to post that data on their websites.
“I believe in being accountable to the people for how our limited state resources are being used,” Booher said. “This accountability includes knowing how state and federal mandates are affecting the bottom lines of our community colleges.”