The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved a resolution, sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher, 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
“This is about preserving the affordability of our community colleges by shielding them from employer mandates in Obamacare that could significantly impact their bottom line,” said Booher, chair of the community colleges budget subcommittee. “I heard from a community college official that depending on what action the IRS takes, they could see their costs increase 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 a two-to-one ratio, an adjunct professor who teaches only eight hours of classes would be considered a full-time employee,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Obamacare would then require that the colleges give them full health care benefits or pay a penalty. The one-to-one ratio is the best course of action because it better reflects an adjunct professor’s actual workload and also helps our community colleges continue to offer a quality, 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.
“The people deserve to know how their tax dollars are being used,” Booher said. “That accountability includes showing the public how state and federal mandates impact the budgets of our community colleges.”