Ill effects from new health law

Big business and its work force are not the only ones feeling the pinch from the Affordable Care Act.

A recent article in The New York Times focused on how schools and municipalities across the nation are being impacted by the law. Just like in the private sector, part-time employees who work more than 30 hours per week would be entitled to health care from the taxing entity.

Needless to say, the leaders of these institutions are none too happy with the limitations. “Are we supposed to lay off full-time teachers so that we can provide insurance coverage to part-time employees?” Mark D. Benigni, the superintendent of schools in Meriden, Conn., told The New York Times last month. “If I had to cut five reading teachers to pay for benefits for substitute teachers, I’m not sure that would be best for our students.”

Benigni is correct. It probably would not be best for students.

The law, just the same, probably does not sit well with many who were working 30 to 34 hours per week. But when the Affordable Care Act was being crafted, little thought was given to how the help in the public sector would be affected.

Two months into the new year, the impact of the law is starting to hit home.

Also impacted are the employees who are working fewer hours. Not only are they not receiving the health insurance – and many were not in the first place – now they are collecting less in a paycheck.

Talk about a double whammy, courtesy of the federal government.

Timing is everything

Almost no one in Toronto seemed to notice – or care – that the Buffalo Bills will not be playing this year in the Rogers Center.

In a nearly perfectly timed move, the Bills made the announcement on what is practically a Canadian holiday – the National Hockey League trade deadline day. Wednesday morning, when the story broke, it received a 10-second mention at the end of an hourly sports update on The Fan 590 in Toronto.

How bad was that? The Blue Jays’ Tuesday preseason game got more air time.

Buffalo says it is re-evaluating the deal to play annually in Canada’s largest city due to the debacle of the Atlanta game in December. Only 39,000 fans attended the game, which the Falcons won in overtime.

Don’t blame Toronto for not caring. Since 2008, when the Bills first moved one home game to Canada, Buffalo has been irrelevant with a 36-60 record.

Toronto, unlike Buffalo, is a major city with a metropolitan population of more than 5.5 million. Residents probably would support a part-time football team that won. It won’t support one that cannot.

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call 366-3000, ext. 401.