Nightly News   |  August 13, 2013

Businesses cut employees’ hours, blame new insurance mandate

The Affordable Care Act employer mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 or more hours a week hasn’t been implemented yet, but that hasn’t stopped some businesses from cutting back on employees’ hours to avoid paying healthcare costs. NBC’s Lisa Myers reports.

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>>> we're learning more tonight about some of the unintended consequences of the affordable care act which the president himself now calls obama care. some workers who thought it meant they would finally get health insurance are instead getting hit with a double whammy. no insurance, and a pay cut. we get the story tonight from our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers .

>> luke has worked at a subway franchise in maine for a decade. but he recently was told his hours would be cut to 29 a week.

>> it's very tough. i'm scratching by as it is with overtime.

>> luke's boss, who owns 21 subway franchises says it's all because of the new health care law . employers must provide health insurance to anyone working 30 or more hours a week. goodrich says his small business can't afford that.

>> losing five or six hours a week, that's 50, $60 a week or a couple hundred dollars a month, that's a car payment.

>> reporter: we spoke to almost 20 small businesses and other entities around the country, all said because of the new law, they would be cutting back hours for some employees.

>> any time you see a one, that's on.

>> reporter: at st. petersburg college in florida, 250 part time professors have had their hours reduced.

>> it's been the hardest decision i've had to make, and i hope that we can work our way through it to a better answer than we're able to give today.

>> part time math professor tracy sullivan lost half her income.

>> i never thought it would impact me directly. i was stunned when i got the e-mail.

>> the white house dismisses these examples as anecdotal. the top economic adviser told us he sees no systematic evidence, the health care law is having an adverse impact on the number of hours the employees are working.

>> this isn't a problem, it's not happening.

>> it is happening.

>> reporter: joseph hanson is president of the union that supports obama care. discount stores already are cutting workers to 29 hours. and that unionized grocery stores want to follow suit.

>> wait a year, you'll see a tremendous impact as workers have their hours reduced and their incomes reduced.

>> reporter: the white house has delayed the employer mandate for a year, but many businesses are still preparing for the cuts. lisa myers , nbc news, kennebunk, maine.