U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) today introduced legislation (S. 2462) to help America’s students by exempting schools, colleges, and universities from the ObamaCare employer mandate, which is already cutting education jobs and driving up tuition costs across the country.
“ObamaCare’s employer mandate is not only destroying jobs in the education system, but it also continues to drive up tuition prices for students suffering in the sluggish Obama economy,” said Thune. “School budgets should enhance students’ educations—not pay for the president’s health care law. I hope my colleagues will join me in putting teachers and students first by supporting my bill to prevent tuition increases and job loss due to ObamaCare and help our country’s K-12 schools provide high quality education.”
According to reports, some schools across the country are eliminating teaching positions and others are reducing the number of hours teachers and staff can work in order to comply with the health care law’s 30-hour work week. In addition to jobs lost, the law includes higher prices for government-approved health care plans. These higher costs for colleges and universities are inevitably passed along to students in the form of higher tuition prices. According to one witness testifying before the House Committee on Education and Workforce, his university may be forced to increase tuition by 20 percent due to the increased costs and mandates associated with ObamaCare. In K-12 education systems, these costs cannot be passed along to students in the form of higher tuition, but will be absorbed by eliminating teacher positions or cutting funding for extracurricular activities.Thune also introduced legislation this week along with Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) that would provide a new tool to help employers recruit and retain quality workers by allowing them to help qualified employees repay student loans with pre-tax dollars. Thune and Warner’s Employer Participation in Refinancing Act (S.2429) would encourage qualified employees with student loan debt to refinance their loans into the private market in order to take advantage of lower interest rates than currently offered by the federal government.