Health Care Law May Result in 2 Million Fewer Full-Time Workers

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from The New York Times,

A new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office says that the Affordable Care Act will result in more than 2 million fewer full-time workers in the next several years, providing Republican opponents of the law a powerful political weapon leading up to this year’s midterm elections.

The law is also expected to have a significant effect on hours worked, the nonpartisan budget office said in a regular update to its budget projections released Tuesday. With the expansion of insurance coverage, more workers will choose not to work and others will choose to work fewer hours than they might have otherwise, it said. The decline in hours worked will translate into a loss of the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time positions by 2024, the budget office said.

The budget office analysis found that much of the law’s effect comes from reducing the need for people to take a full-time job just to get insurance coverage, and from the premium subsidies effectively bolstering household income.

But it will also have an effect on businesses, the report said, including by encouraging them to reduce employee hours to avoid the so-called “employer mandate.”

Republicans immediately seized on the report as evidence of the health care law’s adverse effect on the economy.

“Obamacare is only making things worse,” said Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin in a statement. “This costly law is not only pushing government spending to new heights, it is disrupting coverage and leaving millions of Americans worse off.”

The White House pushed back against the Republican attacks, citing the report’s finding that the law will have no effect on the total demand for worker hours.

“Claims that the Affordable Care Act hurts jobs are simply belied by the facts in the C.B.O. report,” said the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, in a statement. “C.B.O.’s findings are not driven by an assumption that A.C.A. will lead employers to eliminate jobs or reduce hours, in fact, the report itself says that there is ‘no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the A.C.A.’”

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