(CBS NEWS) -- Given
the new incentives offered by the Affordable Care Act, people will
choose to work less in the coming years, nonpartisan budget analysts say
-- shrinking the workforce by the equivalent of 2 million full-time
workers by 2017 and by 2.5 million by 2024.
already intent on making the controversial health care law a 2014 campaign issue, seized on the new data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to argue the law is hurting the economy. The White House,
however, defended the law, charging the GOP with spinning the facts.
middle class is getting squeezed in this economy, and this CBO report
confirms that ObamaCare is making it worse," House Speaker John Boehner,
R-Ohio, said in a statement.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, called the CBO report "terrible news."
the President's signature domestic policy achievement, will lead to
more than 2 million fewer jobs and hurt much-needed economic growth," he
said. "A direct threat to the long-term health and prosperity of our
nation, this law must be repealed."
CBO report notes that the reduction in labor "stems almost entirely
from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,
rather than from a net drop in businesses' demand for labor."
will choose to work less because of a variety of new factors to
consider. For instance, some will retire early since they will no longer
have to rely on their employer for insurance. Others will choose to
work less because more work income would make them eligible for less in
these workers will be choosing to work less, the reduction in labor
will not register as a rise in "unemployment" figures, which only count
workers who are actively looking for work.
The budget office also noted that its estimate of the law's impact on the labor market is "subject to substantial uncertainty."
House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement that "claims that the
Affordable Care Act hurts jobs are simply belied by the facts in the CBO
the longer run, CBO finds that because of this law, individuals will be
empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods, like
retiring on time rather than working into their elderly years or
choosing to spend more time with their families," Carney said. "At the
beginning of this year, we noted that as part of this new day in health
care, Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide
coverage for their families, and would have the opportunity to pursue
also addressed the lingering charge that the employer mandate -- the
requirement for businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to
provide insurance coverage for their workers -- is driving employers to
hire more part-time workers.
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.
CBO report does say that "in the longer run, some businesses also may
decide to reduce their hiring or shift their demand toward part-time
hiring either to stay below the threshold of 50 full-time equivalent
workers or to limit the number of full-time workers that generate
penalty payments. But such shifts might not reduce the overall use of
In addition to estimating Obamacare's impact on the
labor market, the CBO in its new report adjusted its estimates of the
law's impact on health coverage in the U.S.
Initially, 7 million
people were expected to sign up for private insurance coverage through
the Obamacare marketplaces this year, but the CBO now expects 6 million
enrollees. Enrollment is expected to increase sharply in the following
years, with 24 million to 25 million enrollees expected by 2017.
Affordable Care Act coverage provisions -- such as the new marketplaces
and the expansion of Medicaid in some states -- are expected to
increase coverage by about 13 million in 2014, 20 million in 2015, and
25 million in each subsequent year through 2024.
In spite of that,
about 31 million nonelderly people are expected to be uninsured in
2024. About 45 percent of those people simply won't buy insurance, the
CBO predicts, while another 5 percent are expected to come from states
that have decided not to expand Medicaid. Undocumented immigrants
ineligible for most benefits are expected to account for 30 percent of
those left uninsured.
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