Analysts say health care law means fewer on job

With health care less expensive for those who work fewer hours, some believe it will be a disincentive for people to work full-time
Associated Press
Feb 5, 2014

Several million American workers will cut back their hours on the job or leave the nation's workforce entirely because of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, congressional analysts said Tuesday, adding fresh fuel to the political fight over "Obamacare."

The workforce changes would mean nationwide losses equal to 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021, in large part because people would opt to keep their income low to stay eligible for federal health care subsidies or Medicaid, the Congressional Budget Office said. It had estimated previously that the law would lead to 800,000 fewer jobs by that year.

Republican lawmakers seized on the report as major new evidence of what they consider the failures of Obama's overhaul, the huge change in U.S. health coverage that they're trying to overturn and planning to use as a main argument against Democrats in November's midterm elections.

It's the latest indication that "the president's health care law is destroying full-time jobs," said Republican Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "This fatally flawed health care scheme is wreaking havoc on working families nationwide," he said.

But the White House said the possible reduction would be due to voluntary steps by workers rather than businesses cutting jobs — people having the freedom to retire early or spend more time as stay-at-home parents because they no longer had to depend only on their employers for health insurance.

The law means people "will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said the top reasons people would reduce work would be to qualify for subsidized coverage and an expanded Medicaid program but that lower wages — because of penalties on employers who don't provide coverage and looming taxes on generous health care plans — would also be a factor.

The agency also reduced its estimate of the number of uninsured people who will get coverage through the health care law. The budget experts now say 1 million more people will be uninsured this year than had been expected, partly because of the website problems that prevented people from signing up last fall.

However, it wasn't all bad news for the Obama administration. The CBO's wide-ranging report predicted that the federal budget deficit will fall to $514 billion this year, down from last year's $680 billion and the lowest by far since Obama took office five years ago.

The new estimates also say that the health care law will, in the short run, benefit the economy by boosting demand for goods and services because the lower-income people it helps will have more purchasing power. The report noted that the 2014 premiums that people pay for exchange coverage are coming in about 15 percent lower than projected, and the health care law, on balance, still is expected to reduce the federal deficit.

However, the budget experts see the long-term federal deficit picture worsening by about $100 billion a year through the end of the decade because of slower growth in the economy than they had previously predicted.

As for health care signups, the website woes have largely been cleared up, but the nonpartisan congressional analysts estimated that about 1 million fewer people will enroll through the new insurance exchanges than had been expected this year, for a total of 6 million.

Enrollment is predicted to pick up, topping 20 million in 2016. The exchanges, or online marketplaces, offer subsidized private coverage and cater mainly to middle-class people who don't have health care on the job.

The Congressional Budget Office also revised its Medicaid enrollment projection downward by about 1 million, for a new total of 8 million signups in 2014. About half the states have accepted the health law's Medicaid expansion.

What about those people whose decisions about work might be affected by the new law?

Lower-wage workers are more likely to reduce their hours or quit their jobs because of Obamacare incentives, the report said.

Although some employers will choose not to hire additional workers, or will reduce hours, the budget office said that does not appear to be the main factor.

"The estimated reduction 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," the report said.

The health care analysis is layered with complexity. The job losses are measured in "full-time-equivalent workers," which means more people are actually affected than, say, the 2 million full-time-equivalent jobs lost in 2017. It could take several part-time workers or people deciding to reduce their hours to produce the wage loss of one full-time equivalent.

The report also contains an important caveat, that the estimate of job losses is "subject to substantial uncertainty" and could be larger or smaller than predicted. There now are more than 130 million jobs in the economy.

Meanwhile, the broad federal deficit projection shows another yearly improvement. Obama inherited an economy in crisis and the first deficits ever to exceed $1 trillion. The 2009 total, swelled by the costs of the Wall Street bailout, hit a record $1.4 trillion, while the deficits of 2010 and 2011 each registered $1.3 trillion.

The agency sees the deficit sliding to $478 billion next year before beginning a steady rise years through 2024 that would bring the annual imbalance back above $1 trillion. Overall, it forecasts deficits totaling $7.3 trillion over the coming decade, about $1 trillion more than previously estimated.

"CBO expects that economic growth will diminish to a pace that is well below the average seen over the past several decades," the report said, citing an aging population and a decrease in the rate of growth in the labor force.

Tuesday's report comes as Obama and Republicans in Congress are taking a respite in the budget wars that have periodically consumed Washington since Republicans took control of the House in 2011. The declining deficit numbers mean they could feel even less urgency to act now.

A December budget agreement and last month's follow-up spending bill could buy peace through November's midterm elections. Republicans also appear to be taking a less confrontational approach to legislation needed this month to increase the government's borrowing limit to avoid defaulting on its obligations.

Comments

GoBigLex2001

Imagine that! Not surprised. Obama sucks!

ladylake

I truly believe he is intentionally trying to bring this county to ruin.

coasterfan

Stop listening to Fox, et al, and you won't have to worry about your head being filled with rubbish. It's amusing the baloney that some people actually believe.

Darwin's choice

"It's amusing the baloney that some people actually believe"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

You should take a good look in the mirror troll boy!!!

Obamabot!

Uncommon Sense

I am against Obama and most of his policies. I get my news from many media sources. I think anyone, whether it be you or Obama himself, that believes Fox News is to blame for my and like minded people's views of what is happening in our country is wearing a blind fold and doesn't want to accept the realities of what Obama and democrats have done. It is not Fox News that created record deficits. It is not Fox News that created the many scandals of Obama's administration. It is not Fox News that passed the [un]Affordable Care Act. Stop blaming a news outlet for the problems that were brought on by the president, poor congressional leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy "We have to pass the bill to see what's in it" Pelosi.

Uncommon Sense

I am against Obama and most of his policies. I get my news from many media sources. I think anyone, whether it be you or Obama himself, that believes Fox News is to blame for my and like minded people's views of what is happening in our country is wearing a blind fold and doesn't want to accept the realities of what Obama and democrats have done. It is not Fox News that created record deficits. It is not Fox News that created the many scandals of Obama's administration. It is not Fox News that passed the [un]Affordable Care Act. Stop blaming a news outlet for the problems that were brought on by the president, poor congressional leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy "We have to pass the bill to see what's in it" Pelosi.

John Harville

Ya thought it was so nice you posted it twice? Do you even know how to edit out a double post?

There you go again

I think they should post a third time....just to irritate you. Rather petty, don't you think, Harville?

Contango

Re: "Stop listening to Fox,"

Begs the question:

So WHAT should one watch, read & listen to in order to get one's head thinking politically correct as you believe it to be?

Brick Hamland

I have seen first hand part time people turn down full time work within the same onrganization stating "I would lose my government benefits, because of my food benefits I would make less if i worked full time." That is becoming the new america, and the best part of it is the Democrats also like to demonize being wealthy...

anthras

coasterfan

"CBO expects that economic growth will diminish to a pace that is well below the average seen over the past several decades, the report said, citing an aging population and a decrease in the rate of growth in the labor force."

As you can see coasterfan the information is not made up by Fox they are reporting what the CBO reported and the WH will try to spin that Obamacare will give the people a choice of working more or less hours the report advises that the economic growth will diminish causing a smaller labor force and I fail to see any advantages of a smaller labor force.

John Harville

Cherry picker AKA anthras. Did you read the remainder of the report that says overall job growth and the economy will strengthen in the next decade?....evan as early as 2017?

Of course not.... that would make you fair and balanced in your thinking and posting.

Look at the comments on here that are negative toward Obama but say nothing about Congress or the actual facts of the report.

anthras

Johnny Harville, I am sorry for cherry picking however my main point was that Fox was just reporting on the CBO report not just fabricating the news. At this time I am not sure the economy will strengthen soon. I just read that Tim Armstrong CEO of AOL just announced that Obamacare will cost AOL an additional 7.1 million. They will either ask their employees to increase their contribution for the health care or reduce their 401K contributions and they will pay that in one lump sum at the end of the year ergo any employee that might quit before the end of the year would not collect for that year.If a person would quit in Dec. they would lose out on 11 months of contributions. Either way it would mean less income for the employees to pump into the economy.

Also by persons having the incentive to work less to make less income to avoid higher premiums does not seem to be congruent to a growing economy

pntbutterandjelly

To John Harville. "Clap" "Clap" Clap" (Well said Sir! Well said!)

*Some people just like to listen to what is convenient to their way of thinking. "Ignorance is bliss" comes to mind.

goofus

Only if you quit listening to MSNBC and the other leftist lame stream media

pntbutterandjelly

*If you take prescription drugs at full price and can't get them from Canada (or elsewhere) where they are cheaper than what we in the U.S. are charged and you don't care...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you don't mind having massive health care insurance premiums...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you feel the out of control costs at the doctor's office is justified...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If it's okay with you that the rest of the civilized world has universal health care and we don't...you must be for corporate profits.
*If you thinks it's fine and dandy that the FDA is allowing 3,000 (+) untested drugs to be sold...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you thinks it's a great idea for your tax dollars to help subsidize Walmart (and others) under-paid employees...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you feel people who make minimum wages (or less like your waitress) are living a life of ease...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you feel it's fair to punish the poor while sending BILLIONS to fight immoral and illegal wars...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you feel that having just 1% of the population owning 95% of the wealth is a good idea...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think the banks didn't create the "Banking Crisis" for their own benefit...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think sending over 12,000,000 American jobs overseas was brought on by the same people who lost their jobs...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think those with money SHOULD have their own private lobbyists...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you thinks being able to contribute untold (and un-documented) sums to political campaigns is the right thing to do...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think Dwight D. Eisenhower was being a Liberal, Communist or Progressive smuck when he said, "Beware of the Military-Industrial Complex...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think our generally stagnant or declining standard of living is caused by natural forces...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think we normal citizens should be taxed at the rates we are while corporations often get of tax-free...then you must be for corporate profits.
If you think some of the uber-wealthy should have tax-free, off-shore tax havens without any penalties...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think cutting out (or eliminating all together) benefits to the elderly, disabled or mentally-challenged is the right thing to do...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think de-funding our school systems is smart while expanding our burgeoning military expenditures...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you aren't part of Wall Street's "Inner Circle" is wonderful...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think that the housing market calamity wasn't man-made...then you are for corporate profits.
*If you think forcing the Post Office to prefund its retirement and then profess it to be an "insolvent", "inefficient" and "archaic" program isn't a ploy to privatize it...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think selling our highway system to China is a great idea...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think naming our sports stadiums after the highest corporate bidder is great...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think the Federal Reserve Board is a governmental entity...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think it's okay for corporate heads to be above the law...then you must be for corporate profits.
*If you think having a highly divided and rapidly growing class system of the "haves" and "have-nots" is a good thing...(fill in the blanks).
PS. I'm just getting warmed up with these samples of New World Order realities!

The Big Dog's back

Amen!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree with some, disagree with other points above, but my overwhelming question is: why are you against a company making money? What do you think a company does with its profit? Who gets to decide how much a person or company is "worth" or allowed to make? Ultimately...

What is the purpose of a business?

The Big Dog's back

"What do you think a company does with its profit?"
Well, the big Corporations don't pay a living wage, so the rest of us have to pay for food stamps, healthcare, etc., for their employees.

pntbutterandjelly

To "The Hero Zone"; I am NOT against anyone, corporations included, making money. The question becomes, "Was it made legally and if so...was it made morally?" Then there is the follow-up question of, "What are you/they going to do with all the profits?" "Help someone else, hoard it or use it to their advantage?" Like...buying lobbyists and politicians. It is the later kind of people and corporate profits I am staunchly opposed to. "Liers, cheats and thieves I have no use for regardless of how much money they have or don't have. Those types need to be imprisoned.
The problem in our country has become the influence pedaling of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. It's a rigged game and the middle class and lower income class citizens are paying the price with their incomes, health, retirements and long-term future of our country as a whole. If this ugly portrait is not altered...we will eventually see castles being built just like the robber barons of old Europe did as they suppressed the citizens into a feudal system. A system of "haves" and "have nots".
It's amazing to me that more people don't look back at history and see it for it was and for what it could mean for us if we would only open our minds rather than our mouths.
Do NOT think that there aren't low-lifes out their who, like the corporations, suck off the system like leaches. They too are to blame but......they have little power nor do they rig the game. "THERE IS TOO MUCH MONEY IN THE POLITICAL GAME." "THIS is what MUST be changed or...our democracy is doomed. Doomed by the power-brokers. Doomed by the self-righteous. Doomed by the......greedy.
Too may citizens blame their neighbors as they otherwise feel the "Untouchables" are untouchable. So...it's far easier to blame some small portion of our everyday citizenry. That fact plays right into the power boys hands for the more they can confuse us the more they can divide us the more they can control us. Adolph DID blame the Jews (and the Checks and the French and the British and the Poles, and the Gypsies and so on and so forth) and...it worked. It became a rally call to the remaining Germans and eventually ended... in their own demise. The game of "divide and conquer" is age old and we, the American citizens, all falling for it all over again.
Remember, "United we stand. Divided we fall." It's more than "just words".
Good luck working your way up the economic ladder because...it's now missing several important rungs. And furthermore...the less independent we are economically as individuals the more dependent we are on socialized handouts. Any yet...in today's televised broadcasts of "some" stations...they bash those who receive assistance! What a sham. What a contorted game. What a shame we have come to this point in our nation's history.
(We don't need more political parties. We need more informed and thinking voters. An educated electorate is feared by those *ell-bent on taking our freedoms through whatever means they can contrive. Now it has become MUCH easier to brainwash the public since we have so few televised news broadcasts to choose from. The trick is to read between the lines. stop blaming the everyday folks and get you news from a varied sources. "THAT" is a "fair and balanced" approach to decision making. (If you eat only beans...you'll get bean by-products. If you eat only corn...you get only corn by-products. If you eat beans and corn...you get succotash!)

Pass the succotash please.

Dr. Information

Worry about yourself, not about business's that you know nothing of, don't work for, nor understand.

Truth2u

Its not just him but the entire Democratic party, and lately with the support of legalizing criminal illegals I believe both parties have become insane or even worse, traitors to their oaths.

tbh

Just wondering how does health care ruin a country? Although I don't agree with much of Obama policies, no one has yet to explain how or why they are against health care??? And people who CHOOSE not to work is not Obama or anyone fault.

rbenn

Read the CBO report all will be revealed. http://www.washingtonpost.com/bu...

John Harville

So you send us to the Bozo.. uh, Bezos Version...of the news?

coasterfan

I agree with tbh. If people choose to work less hours, in order to keep their health care costs down, that is their choice.

Anyone who truly thinks the country is going to ruin in 2014 clearly has no concept of reality. Please take a look at 2008. I don't have a problem with people having a different opinion, but do have a problem when people insist on a different version of history.

Darwin's choice

"no concept of reality"

The story of you is writing itself!

Your daily cheerleading isn't going so well, troll. The daily failures of your messiah have taken their toll. the American people are seeing this terd for what he is.

Donegan

"I don't have a problem with people having a different opinion, but do have a problem when people insist on a different version of history."
That is hilarious coming from a Obama worshipper, You people have tried to rewrite history at every turn. Face it, Your from the party of Boss Tweed that panders to those who do not know history. For the last 150 years the democrats have stood for nothing more than slavery, Back then it was based on race, Today it is based on debt.

grumpy

Re: " If people choose to work less hours, in order to keep their health care costs down, that is their choice."

This is from someone who claims to be concerned about the "growing income inequality". He wants folks to be able to work less, and make less money so they can maintain their gov't subsidy. He thinks those are good things, yet thinks that those that work more to get ahead should have gov't take more away from those who try to get ahead. This is considered rational thinking by some on here. This is sad, just plain sad.

Uncommon Sense

It is the country's problem when people choose not to work so they can receive more tax money as a higher subsidy to pay for more of their health insurance premium. It's also bad for the economy when people make less money because those people then spend less money. Then there are fewer jobs since there is less money circulating in the economy.

So, coasterfan, in the end, people are not working less to keep their health care costs down, they are working less so they can transfer the cost of their care to someone else. The cost of the health care they receive will remain the same. It is just that tax dollars will be spent to pay for the cost of their care instead of their own money paying to support their own health and the overall economy will be worse for it.

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