Obamacare: The Big Job Creator?

For the last three-and-a-half years opponents of Obamacare have blamed everything from the weak economy to Hurricane Sandy on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The media have been full of stories about how Obamacare caused businesses to lay-off workers or cut back hours even if many of these companies were too small to be affected by the mandates in the law.

There also have been numerous accounts of how Obamacare was causing insurance costs to skyrocket. This is in spite of the fact that the last three-and-a-half years have seen the slowest rate of healthcare cost growth in more than half-a-century. The ACA may not deserve credit for the slower pace of growth in healthcare cost, but it is more than a bit far-fetched to blame it for sky-rocketing insurance premiums in a context where the rate of increase has slowed sharply. looked at the percentage of employees who worked less than the 30-hour work week specified as the cutoff for being subject to employer mandate. She compared the first six months of this year, when employers expected the sanctions to be in effect, with the first six months of 2012. It turns out that the percentage of employees working less than the 30-hour cut-off was actually lower in 2013. So much for the part-time nation story being circulated by opponents of the law. existing structure of subsidy phase-outs already created a large gap between increases in before-tax pay and the gains workers take home. Yet, most people facing these tradeoffs still work nearly full-time.

Older beneficiaries

However, there is one group of workers who are likely to change their behaviour in response to the incentives created by ACA. Most workers between the ages of 55 and 64 will now be able to get affordable insurance in the individual market. font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
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We really would just be guessing at this point as to how many jobs are likely to open up because older workers taking advantage of insurance through the exchanges. There are roughly 24 million people between the ages of 55 and 64 who are currently employed. If 5 percent of these workers decide to quit their jobs because of Obamacare that would open up 1.2 million jobs for younger workers. font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
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Dean Baker is a US macroeconomist and co-founder of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research. 

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