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Messer seeks exemption for schools from health care law Congressman says districts can't afford insurance costs

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06/15/2013 10:06 PM
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Messer seeks exemption for schools from health care law Congressman says districts can't afford insurance costs
[link to www.shelbynews.com]

Republican U.S. Rep. Luke Messer of Shelbyville, dont like Obamocare, why should we de in it, maybe because we dont have a deep poket like the teachers union does, and cant pay off our Rep.

While Shelby County school administrators continue to deal with the effects of the Affordable Care Act on their emloyees, they have an ally in Washington, D.C. Republican U.S. Rep. Luke Messer of Shelbyville, who was elected in November to represent Indiana's 6th District, met Thursday morning with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and said he will introduce legislation exempting local schools from the health care act. Messer's hope is that the legislation will shield schools from insurance mandates and penalties in the law."It is unconscionable that the federal government is taxing schools to help pay for the president's health care law. I have voted to fully repeal Obamacare. At a time when school budgets are tight, we cannot continue to wait for the Senate to act while this law takes dollars out of our classrooms," Messer said Thursday afternoon in a telephone interview.Messer said his proposed legislation would allow school districts to continue providing health care to their employees as they have in the past, without massive penalties that could affect classroom instruction and school operations. The law's changes concerning insurance for part-time employees has particularly affected schools.Shelbyville Central Schools Superintendent David Adams believes the insurance mandates and penalties could cost his district nearly $800,000 during the 2013-14 school year."This issue lies in how educational organizations will calculate hours worked during this standard measurement period since they may be prohibited from including actual hours of service worked by school employees during educational breaks. I appreciate Congressman Messer's continued work to address this important issue for our local schools and communities," Adams said.Messer said Adams played a major role in his decision to act."David Adams is the one who really brought this to my attention. I think it is definitely possible to get this legislation passed, and I am optimistic we will get bipartisan support," he said.Messer said he has also heard from Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County Assistant Superintendent Bob Yoder, who said his district will have to pay between $340,000 and $450,000 in costs that, Messer said, may lead to reduced hours of employees.All of Shelby County's respective school districts already have voted in favor of reducing hours of part-time employees under 30 hours a week."This is bad for students, employees and the entire country," said Messer, who previously facilitated a phone call between Department of Education officials and Adams to discuss the impact of penalties. "We are constantly getting emails, phone calls and letters from people. I don't think people understand just how negative of an impact this will have."Messer said legislative action is the only way to help school districts during this crunch."We'll try to see if we can get this introduced, and I think we'll get the support. This is a unique circumstance, and I truly hope common sense will prevail. It's time to go to work and help our school districts. School districts are already strapped for cash, and my hope is this will appeal to everyone. This is not a partisan issue, but rather an issue that will be for the greater good of all citizens," Mehesser said.