CHARLOTTESVILLE — Eastern Hancock joined the state of Indiana and 14 other public school districts Tuesday in a federal lawsuit challenging regulations imposed by the Affordable Care Act.
The lawsuit challenges the federal government’s authority to impose the health-care law’s so-called “employer mandate” on the state and public school corporations, according to a news release from the Indianapolis law firm of Bose, McKinney & Evans, which represents the school districts.
The employer mandate requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance coverage to those who average 30 hours or more a week.
Failure to provide the coverage for 95 percent of the employer’s workforce could result in significant monetary penalties from the federal government.
“The mandate requires school districts to make a decision between providing coverage at significant extra cost, suffering catastrophic penalties or reduce some employee hours to 29 or less,” said Jim Hamilton, an attorney at Bose, McKinney.
Hamilton argued the cut in employee hours not only will hurt the affected employees, but it will have lasting effects on the state’s education system as well.
“Schools need to be in the business of education, and when you begin cutting hours especially in areas like assistants to special needs (students), there’s something wrong,” Hamilton said.