CBO: Obamacare will mean fewer workers

Posted February 4, 2014

Affordable Care Act

— Workers will spend fewer hours on the job over the next decade as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The impact will be the equivalent of 2 million fewer full time workers on the job as of 2017.

"The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024. Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA," reads the report.

The analysis of labor market effects of the ACA, what some call "Obamacare," begins on page 123 of a forecast of overall economic growth delivered to Congress Tuesday. It does not say the economy will shrink as a result of the health care law. Rather, it says the number of hours worked will grow more slowly than otherwise would have been the case. 

The report says that much of slower growth will be chalked up to people opting not to work once they have health care rather than employers choosing not to hire. Many of the people opting out of the workforce, or opting to work fewer hours, will be low wage workers, according to the forecast.

"CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor – given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive," the report says. "Because the largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wage workers, the reduction in aggregate compensation ... and the impact on the overall economy will be proportionally smaller than the reduction in hours worked." 

Republicans jumped on the report as evidence that the Affordable Care Act would hurt the economy. 

"Obamacare will destroy millions of jobs, increase the deficit and harm small businesses and hard-working families, and yet (U.S. Sen.) Kay Hagan says she would still vote for it again," North Carolina Republican Party spokesman Daniel Keylin said.

The White House defended the law. Jay Carney, press secretary for President Barack Obama, emphasized the report did not predict employers would create fewer jobs.

"Claims that the Affordable Care Act hurts jobs are simply belied by the facts in the CBO report. CBO’s findings are not driven by an assumption that ACA 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 ACA,'" Carney said in a news release.


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  • ALECarolina Feb 7, 2014

    It's not my handbook, I've never read it....but apparently YOU have. Hmmmmmm.

    Tell you what, slick....since I can't convince you I'm not a communist like this, let's meet in person, and you can convince me I'm a communist face to face. Deal?

  • veryfrustrated1 Feb 7, 2014

    ale, I read your handbook, saul alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" - (pg 10) "A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." But PLEASE keep it up! You are too funny!!!!

  • ALECarolina Feb 7, 2014

    Veryconfused, you ask me "If I think", all that stuff. said it, not me. Your strawman is on fire.

    As for Captain Hyperbole, I've never made any such statement, I have no desire to take anything you have, and I don't have any input on what happens to your and veryconfused should pool your blazing strawmen, they'd heat the entire Eastern Seaboard.

  • Catmandu Feb 7, 2014

    alecarolina, You are a funny guy. But I don't particularly like, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, Waxman, Boxe, Feinstein either. I do like Dr. Ben Carson, Condoleezza Rice, Allen West, Thomas Sowell, who wrote: “Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?” So how much of my money are you willing to let me keep?

  • veryfrustrated1 Feb 7, 2014

    alecarolina, I have to ask, do you think that you own me or the products of my blood, sweat, and tears? Do you think that anyone else has more of a legal right to what I earn than I do? The American Heritage Dictionary Definition of Slave is "a person who is forced to work for someone else". Is that what you really advocate? Do you really think that our government should take what I have worked for, from me, at the point of a gun, if I do not give it up willingly, to give it to those who choose not to work, because I have been successful?

  • ALECarolina Feb 7, 2014

    The regressive quote I like best is this:

    "I was all for Obamacare when The Heritage Foundation invented it to stop Bill and Hillary, but now that the uppity "socialist" in the WHITE House who don't know his "place" has signed it into law, I HATE it."

  • Catmandu Feb 7, 2014

    The progressive quote I like the best is this:
    'I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'

  • goldenosprey Feb 7, 2014

    Conservative "math" strikes again. This 1 carrying the 9 nonsense is based on the premise that the first 9 customers got no big mac or health care AT ALL under the previous model.

    They did and the insured paid for it. What we are transitioning is a system where the first 9 get free burgers and the 10th pays for all of it to the first 9 pay a dollar or two and the tenth pays $the rest.

    In Europe the bill would be closer to $20 than $50, and would taste better, BTW

  • ALECarolina Feb 7, 2014

    Actually, the opposite of PROgressive is REgressive.

    Disingenuous flip?

  • ALECarolina Feb 7, 2014

    I apologize for assuming that you'd understand that the opposite of "social progressive" is "social regressive".

    Disingenuous flip?

    LOONWATCH isn't a source of information, laughing does showcase the incredible ignorance of the "Real Americans" that call themselves the Tea Party.

    You already know that though, right? We don't hardly blame you for being ashamed of these "patriots" you admire so much......these folks are plum pitiful.