Farm Bill & Indiana Schools Facing Obamacare “Uncertainty”

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Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly was recently on the floor of the Senate pleading for the passage of the new ten year farm bill currently up for debate. He did the basic verbal judo political speak in saying the bill would help “Hoosier Farmers”. Senator Donnelly is very much celebrated as a moderate thinker by the political writers at the Indianapolis Star. I personally have challenged a few of their writers in what direction he would choose once in the Senate and get the usual “Bipartisanship” line and that is about it. I am not seeing anything as of right now from the Indianapolis Star on this issue but if they write about his statements on the proposed farm bill, it will be very nuanced without much substance.

The current Farm Bill of 2013 will most likely pass the Senate and head to the House. The farm bill is anything but a farm bill. Here is small paragraph from RedState.com

Today, the Senate will invoke cloture on the 5-year farm bill, S. 954.  The 1150-page Senate bill costs $955 billion over 10 years and creates a new shallow loss program covering up to 90% of a farmer’s income – on the taxpayer dime.  Roughly 80% of the cost is related to food stamps.  For good measure, this bill contains sugar subsidies, biofuels subsidies, and conservation programs.  This mega-bill was rushed through the committee process and has only been subject to four amendments on the floor. 

Farm bills of this magnitude need to be stopped and absolutely broken down for separate votes. On top of that, when a Senator like Joe Donnelly steps to the microphone to express support for this bill, just be honest and say what the bill is.  Here is the link to his floor speech and it says nothing about what the bill really is intended to support.

One more piece to “Farm Bills”, they hardly ever help a bunch of farmers. Face the Facts USA has an excellent breakdown of the most previous data of the last farm bill. They added a nice slideshow for their data breakdown. Here is the link for their article but will post one small piece:

The most recent Farm Bill shows the bulk of its $96.2 billion cost went elsewhere. $77.6 billion in 2011 went to the food stamp program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Just $13.44 billion went to programs for farmers.

Switching topics, more and more financial decisions are not only being made by businesses in how to adopt the coming Obamacare guidelines but local municipalities are as well. The new unspoken effects are hitting public schools. Just recently, my high school I attended released a statement saying part of the cuts they needed to make was from uncertainty with costs pertaining to the healthcare law. Now more news is coming out from other Indiana schools with what they have to do to be able to afford the law. This comes from Hancock County, Indiana:

Part-time employees could see their hours cut or changed under new federal regulations related to the Affordable Care Act. Though portions of the Affordable Care Act have been phasing in since its adoption in 2010, the new legislation grows teeth Jan. 1 and Hancock County governments, businesses and school districts are taking notice. Large employers who have part-time staff working between 30 and 40 hours a week, for example, will be required to provide health insurance. Failure to provide the coverage for 95 percent of the employer’s workforce could result in significant monetary penalties from the federal government.

 

Even the lawyers hired to help sort out the coming law are uncertain:

And while the law was designed to provide more Americans with affordable health care, there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding the new regulations. “There’s mass uncertainty,” said Jim Matthews, attorney with Bose McKinney and Evans in Indianapolis who has been advising clients on the act. “There are so many surprises in this law, and they just keep coming and coming.”

The Eastern Hancock School Board had to cut non-contract employee hours from 30-40 to 29 hours. Not only is it the school district but the county itself:

The Hancock County Commissioners budgeted for a 20 percent increase in health insurance costs for 2014, still not knowing the full impact of the Affordable Care Act. Details of the 2014 budget will be worked out in the next few months, and one discussion point will be whether to cut the hours of some part-time employees or make them full-time. 

“Normally, you would benefit from two part-time positions rather than a full-time position,” Commissioner Brad Armstrong said. “But if your part-time position is going to get over 30 hours, then it incurs the cost in benefits, there’s really no savings in doing that.”

Many of the county’s part-time employees are in the community corrections department, said Mary Bowmer, payroll administrator. Adding health insurance for a single employee will come at a cost of more than $6,600 for the county.

The full article is in this link. This is just a microcosm of what is too come for the entire nation. Municipalities are struggling massively from tight budgets, this will only confuse the budget makers a few more years as this law plays out.

 

 

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