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Bangor School Chief Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee

WASHINGTON - Dr. Betsy Webb, superintendent of the Bangor School Department, told the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that the current definition of full-time employment in the Affordable Care Act is unworkable, and will add unneeded costs to hard pressed school budgets.

Sen. Susan Collins, who supports defining full-time as at least 40 hours a week rather than the current 30 hours a week, questioned Webb about the impact.

"Is asking for a huge budget increase a viable option for you and most superintendents?" Collins asked Webb.

"No, that is not an option," Webb responded.

Webb said it would cost Bangor schools nearly $6,000 a year each to cover substitute teachers that, on occasion, work more than 30 hours a week. Not providing the coverage under current law triggers substantial fines.

Collins is sponsoring a bill that would change the definition to 40 hours a week.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.