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Feds need 18 pages to define 'full-time' for Obamacare

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Columnists

One of the most-anticipated new federal regulations governing which companies will be required to provide health insurance under Obamacare has finally landed--with a thud.

In the latest indication of how complicated putting the Affordable Care Act into action will be, the Department of Health and Human Services and Internal Revenue Service issued 18-pages of regulations just to describe what a "full-time employee" is. Of note, to the Feds a full-time employee works an average of just 30 hours a week, not the normally accepted 40 hours.

The IRS rule is key because companies with more than 50 full-time employees must provide health insurance under Obamacare, or be fined. Business groups have been warning that small companies might try to replace full-time workers with part-time help to avoid being forced to offer health insurance in 2014, but the 30-hour full-time definition is likely to undermine those plans.

The lengthy 18-page definition caught some in the business world by surprise. "It's scary," said Randy Johnson, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for labor, immigration, and employee benefits. "It's just a small example of two words under our healthcare law of 2,700-pages," he said, adding: "It says to me things are awfully complicated."

Johnson noted the new Obamacare ruling to demonstrate how oppressive federal regulations have become on American business. At a press conference to discuss the costs of regulations and state of the economy, Johnson said that Obama has added 11,327 new pages of federal rules and regulations.