About 30 government workers in Lake County, Ind., recently received termination letters and will lose their jobs at the end of the month. The county said it's a result of healthcare changes for seniors under the Affordable Care Act, but the soon-to-be-fired workers aren't so sure.
Each of the workers, including Dennis Tobin, a payroll administrator; Dan Sebben, a bailiff; and Patty Podgorny, who works nearly full-time for the county sheriff, is older than 65. They had retired from their jobs and later were rehired part-time because they either missed the work and knew the jobs well or they needed the money.
As of Oct. 1, they will be out of work again, and a form letter mailed to each of them explains Obamacare is to blame.
"Part of this new law regulates the rehiring of retired employees and the coverage that those individuals receive," the letter reads. "Regrettably," it continues, "we must conclude your employment with Lake County no later than September 30 2013."
The once-retired workers said they still need their jobs. Tobin, for one, said he is a caretaker for three people and counts on his paychecks to keep him afloat.
"We were blindsided," Tobin said. "All of a sudden we called in one day and were told that we would be getting a letter the very next day that would terminate our jobs and there's nothing we could do about it."
Tobin said they were told they could never work for Lake County government again because they worked full-time at one point and were hired back part-time. When he asked the county whether he could stay on if he dropped his insurance benefits, the answer was no.
"We've already decided you lost your job," he said his employer told him.
As for who is to blame, Tobin says he's doubtful it's Obamacare.
"I accepted an enticement by the county to become part-time instead of full-time and to save them $17,000 a year in insurance costs. I became part-time and because of that part-time and because they claim their insurance is forcing them to terminate [us] and there's nothing I can do about it."
NBC 5 called numerous Lake County officials, some repeatedly, asking to see the provision in the Affordable Care Act that mandates the dismissal. We also called Aetna in Hartford, Conn., because Indiana officials didn't provide a local contact. To be fair, it's a couple thousand-page document, so that may be why we're waiting.