Barack Obama said in an interview on Feb. 10 that larger corporations were trying to diminish his health care law and stated that they should not use the issues of health insurance to fire employees or cut back on hours.
In the interview with BuzzFeed, the President said, “It’s one thing when you’ve got a mom-and-pop store who can’t afford to provide paid sick leave or health insurance or minimum wage to workers but when I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers’ wages, shame on them.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, corporations with more than 50 employees than work 30 hours or more a week are required to pay for their workers’ health insurance. In order to avoid this, some companies have told their staff not to work over 30 hours or have stopped hiring to stay below a staff of 50.
Obama was heavily critical towards the office supplies giant Staples, who reportedly have told their employees not to work over 25 hours a week. In the interview, the President stated, “I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security, and if they can’t, then they should be willing to allow those workers to get the Affordable Care Act without cutting wages.”
It has been reported that Staples CEO Ronald Sargent grossed $10.8 million last year, while his company made a profit of over $620 million.
After a rough start upon its creation in the fall of 2013, the Affordable Care Act’s website has managed to enroll over 7 million people under its system. The legislation itself, passed in 2010 with no Republican support, is considered the President’s signature piece of work during his time in office.