House Hearings on the Impact of the ACA on Education: Part II: News Release from the Committee on the Hearings

Not surprisingly, the following news release reflecting the ideological position of the GOP majority on the committee completely ignores Maria Maisto’s testimony and frames the hearings in which she participated as providing just further evidence of the supposedly devastating impact of the ACA. Notice that Maria’s testimony is not quoted even once in the excerpts from the hearings that constitute the second half of the news release, but the two administrators who clearly oppose the ACA are quoted repeatedly.

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Hearing Exposes ObamaCare’s Painful Consequences for Students, Educators, and Schools

The House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today held a hearing to discuss the challenges schools and postsecondary institutions now face as a result of President Obama’s government takeover of health care.

“Over the last several years we’ve talked a great deal about the budgetary challenges facing states, school districts, and institutions of higher education,” Chairman Kline said. “We’ve discussed how Washington can at times make these fiscal problems worse. Much of the debate has focused on the costs of federal rules, regulations, and mandates that directly intervene in classrooms.”

“However,” Chairman Kline added, “we must be mindful that federal policies unrelated to education can still burden classrooms. The health care law is a prime example. At a time when we need to recruit the best teachers, train today’s workers for the jobs of the future, and school leaders are trying to do more with less, imposing a fundamentally flawed and costly law on our schools is not in the best interests of teachers, parents, taxpayers, or students.”

During the hearing, education leaders highlighted the law’s consequences for our nation’s K-12 schools, colleges, and universities:

 

Fewer Services for Students

The last thing I need right now is another mandate and another expense, because it will impact the enrichment programs, it will impact class sizes… I can tell you it isn’t going to be good for our students in Meriden if we continue on the road we have. – Dr. Mark Benigni, Superintendent of Schools, Meriden Public Schools, Meriden, CT

Every dollar we reallocate to any other expense is taken out of the instructional program. If we are forced to absorb to the $1 million swing compliance with the Affordable Care Act would take, we would have to dramatically limit the numbers of adjuncts we had available. – Dr. Thomas P. Jandris, Senior Vice President &

Dean of Graduate Programs, Concordia University Chicago

In regards to special education, some of our students who deal with transitions not so well are now going to have to deal with the transition from one staff to another, because we can’t afford [it], the money is not there in the budget. – Dr. Benigni

 

Higher Costs

At a time when the local resources aren’t there, there [are] reduced federal resources, something has to give. The last thing I need right now is another mandate and another expense. – Dr. Benigni

The reality is it…could actually force us into a position of having to increase tuition by as much as 20 percent. That 20 percent burden on many of the students who we serve… it would simply break their backs. – Dr. Jandris

Looking at these numbers in their entirety, the cost of the Affordable Care Act requirements to the Meriden Board of Education approaches $4.6M potentially costing us 58 teaching positions. – Dr. Benigni

Destroying Jobs and Cutting Teachers’ Hours

Concordia University Chicago will be forced to consider cutting the hours of other staff and even student workers. – Dr. Jandris

We cannot effectively sustain these significant healthcare expenses. This will cause us to cut staff, reduce programs, minimize current healthcare plans, cut employee hours, and consider outsourcing current services.

– Dr. Benigni

In our university, the expense of providing what we believe to be required insurance coverage to the adjuncts would actually cause us to reduce adjuncts by almost 10 percent therefore limit our ability to provide the services we provide in remote areas. – Dr. Jandris

To learn more about today’s hearing, or to watch an archived webcast, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

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