The hottest topic in Washington these days is the bumpy rollout of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare to its critics). And now the House Education and the Workforce Committee is getting in on the action. The panel announced today it plans to explore the impact of the law on schools.
The hearing, entitled “The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities,” will involve the full committee and take place next Thursday, Nov. 14. Pre-hearing homework: Read my colleague, Sean Cavanagh’s take on the edu-implications of the ACA.
So what will be on the agenda? You can get an early preview of potential topics from this press release, put out by committee Republicans, which highlights local stories of school districts cutting back on part-time staffers and closely monitoring hours for substitute teachers, to keep from having to provide health care benefits, something the law requires employers to do. And it looks like the committee is interested in college employees, too—the release also includes links to stories about pay cuts for adjunct professors.
There’s obviously another side to this story: Many education groups, including teachers’ unions, helped push for the ACA, arguing in part that healthier families would mean healthier students, who would show up much better prepared to learn.
Do you think the ACA has been a negative, positive, or fairly neutral force for schools? Or is it too early to say? Comments section is open!