Class Dismissed for Professor


It’s difficult to pick up the pieces and move forward after the death of a loved one, especially when the journey has been emotionally and financially devastating, but Ann did.

“I lost my husband two years ago to cancer. During his illness, because of bills and the burst of the housing bubble, we lost our home, two vehicles, and then lost him to the cancer. For one month, the co-pay on one of the medicines was over $1,600.00. After his death, I went back to work part time until a full-time job came open. I was lucky enough to get full time. In August of 2014, I will have to go back to part-time teaching,” explained Ann, a college professor in Florida.

The reduction in class-time hours is not by her choice or doing. Like many educators, Ann is learning the negative consequences of the new healthcare law go beyond the issue of medical care – it’s now affecting their jobs and livelihood.

As a senior who receives Medicare, Ann stated, “I don’t need medical [coverage].” What she needs is more hours to provide vital income, but that won’t be happening any time soon, not at least while the Affordable Care Act is still in place.

“Prior to Obamacare, I could teach 4 classes per semester. Because of Obamacare, the college has cut adjuncts back to 3 classes per semester, basically cutting my income by 25% with no benefits.” She said. “I am a senior with no retirement savings.”

Ann pointed out that others around her are experiencing the same unfortunate fate.

“Through LinkedIn, I’m on a sharing line [forum]. It’s for people who work as part-time educators, and the stories are just the same. Of course, a lot of people are blaming the educational institutions, saying they are using Obamacare as an excuse, but I don’t see that as true. We were told because of the hour limit they [the college] had to cut back. They have to figure in a certain number of prep hours. If we taught 4 classes, we would go over the 30 hours.”

Two colleges in Florida are making their intentions clear. The cuts are simply out of necessity to avoid incurring millions of dollars in additional costs, which they can’t afford. In an age where college costs are rising and tuition is becoming unbearable, higher learning institutions can’t merely absorb the cost or pass it along to already struggling families.

“Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College officials say there’s nothing insidious about the strategy – that instead, it’s an economic necessity in an environment where elevating their largely part-time faculties to health-benefit status could cost millions of dollars they don’t have.

“The bottom line here is that institutions are caught between a rock and a hard place,” said David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and a policy analyst with the American Association of Community Colleges. American higher education’s heavy reliance on a contingent work force, which nationally stands at about 30 percent full-time to 70 percent part-time staff, according to the New Faculty Majority, a national coalition for adjuncts…

As Richard Mercadante, head of the St. Petersburg College faculty group, stated, “Bottom line, for state colleges, the new law becomes an unfunded mandate. The part-time to full-time ratio is so large that any given college would have to find millions of dollars in their budgets to offer adjuncts health insurance.”

Losing 25% of her income, Ann exclaimed, “I will definitely be hurt [by this].” Caring is not how Ann would describe Obamacare.