Obamacare fast-tracked $159 million for new hires

Health and Human Services got permission to add 1,814 highly paid employees to implement the health insurance overhaul the day it passed.

By Aimee Picchi Jul 26, 2013 1:16PM

Health and Human Services Building (Alex Brandon/AP)The Obama administration fast-tracked the hiring of 1,814 new employees to handle implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to documents obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch.

The hires likely would have been made at salaries between $70,000 and $130,000 per year, Judicial Watch says, citing the government's 2010 base pay scale for employees at the levels involved. Permission to bring on the additional staffers was given by the Obama administration's Office of Personnel Management to the Department of Health and Human Services on the day Obamacare was passed, the group says. 

Using the pay scale Judicial Watch cited, the hires likely would cost HHS more than $159 million per year, although it's not clear whether any or all of those hires have been made, the Daily Mail notes. A representative from the department didn't immediately return an email seeking comment. 

The employees were to include health insurance specialists, social science analysts, consumer safety officers and accountants, according to Judicial Watch. The group notes that more than 1,100 of them would have started at a salary of almost $100,000 per year. 

Obamacare, which goes into effect next year but will start enrolling Americans this fall, has already boosted employment at law firms, which are adding staff to help clients understand and comply with the law. 

It's also spurring a hiring binge at call centers, with as many as 9,000 jobs created at 14 call centers across the country.

But for many employers, the health care insurance overhaul is prompting cuts to hours and jobs. Because the law requires big employers to provide coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week, some companies are reducing staff hours to 29 hours or less. 

It's particularly common with fast-food restaurants. White Castle is the latest to say it may hire only part-time workers to avoid the restriction. Other companies eying or employing the strategy include Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Regal Entertainment Group (RGC). 

Opponents of the law will surely see the latest boost in hiring as a swing in the wrong direction, creating higher costs for taxpayers. Or as Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said: "We are learning more and more about its massive cost to the American people."

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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Jul 26, 2013 2:00PM
So my wages get cut to 29 hours and a government employee get 100 thousand a year to document it! SHAMEFUL
Jul 26, 2013 1:58PM
More Democrat voters hired.

God, I am so tired of Obama and his ripping off of america.
Jul 26, 2013 2:11PM
Government worker salaries between $70K and $130K??? WTF is wrong with this picture?
Jul 26, 2013 1:42PM
Wealth redistribution from the private sector to the government.
Jul 26, 2013 1:58PM
Just plain Government waste and paper shuffling that will only harm middle class workers. SHAMEFUL
Jul 26, 2013 2:07PM

That works out to $87,651 per person for one year (assuming everyone's pay is equal).  Most tax payers footing the bill for those jobs don't make that much.  Add the fact that government jobs rarely go away, and almost all have health care and pensions to fund.  I dont know if health care is factored into the $159m number, but regardless, everyone sees the problem, right?

Jul 26, 2013 2:10PM
Jul 26, 2013 2:10PM
That's great! I get furloughed this physical year, face more furlough next and possible layoffs and they add this many high paying jobs for Obamacare.
Jul 26, 2013 2:11PM
The sad thing is that this doesn't even come as a shock to me or surprise me at all.  Government pay has risen into the stratosphere for drones who couldn't even begin to hold a job out in the real world.  Obama's dog walker gets over a hundred thousand dollars a year so why should we be surprised?
Jul 26, 2013 2:19PM
Barry is the biggest moron this country has seen. Barrycare is going to bankrupt this country and no one seems to give a rats tail!!
Jul 26, 2013 2:29PM
How is that Kool-Aid tasting? Detroit is bankrupt now and here comes your "Affordable Health Care Act".
Jul 26, 2013 2:25PM

Bigger government more debt which eventually will result in more taxes to the middle class.  That is the economic plan we supported.  Hope you enjoy the future.

Jul 26, 2013 2:13PM
He cut's our Military for this??????...Some one should be tossed into jail for this blunder....B H O ARE THE INITIALS I HAVE IN MIND....
Jul 26, 2013 2:38PM
greatest country in the world with the most corrupt government ....ironic isn't it ??
Jul 26, 2013 2:24PM
Can people really not see how this program is absolutely going to bankrupt every household in this country and, eventually, bankrupt the country??????
Jul 26, 2013 2:35PM
We are not becoming like Greece,  we are like them   too much government hand outs and not enough private sector jobs 
Jul 26, 2013 2:24PM
If you love bureaucrats then you love this story.  "health insurance specialists, social science analysts, consumer safety officers and accountants"

If you're a taxpayer then you're shaking your head.   
Jul 26, 2013 2:12PM
No one is talking about the health insurance agents out of work for the past few years cause of obamacare....Iike myself....   I cant find new clients, cause of the poor economy..and the ones who could afford it are in limbo waiting to see what will happen....the cost of health insurance keeps going up and the coverage is lower than ever....and Im more or less out of work.....
Jul 26, 2013 2:28PM
More Gov debt.   Balance the budget.  Guess who pays for it?
Jul 26, 2013 2:22PM
Alert! an anti-Obama story has been issued. Racist liberals will soon be storming the vine.
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