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.
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.
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?
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.
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You don't have to sign up for Medicare. The catch? If you don't enroll when you're first eligible, you could pay some serious financial penalties later in life.
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