(Bloomberg) – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2 million full-time jobs in 2017, mostly among low-wage earners, the Congressional Budget Office said.
The total number of hours worked will fall about 1.5 percent to 2 percent from 2017 to 2024 as a result of the health-care overhaul, the CBO said today in a report. The reduction is due “almost entirely” to low-wage employees who may choose to give up extra hours of work to avoid losing subsidies or tax advantages under the law, the report said.
Republicans said their warnings that the health law would discourage employment are proving correct. The report “is further evidence the president’s health-care law is destroying full-time jobs,” U.S. Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who is chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said in a statement.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is expected to cover 6 million people through its insurance exchanges this year, according to the report. About 8 million people will enroll in an expansion of Medicaid, the state-run health plan for the poor, under the law. Both figures represent reductions of 1 million from the agency’s estimates before the Obama administration’s faltering rollout of the insurance expansion began in October.
“Over time, more people are expected to respond to the new coverage options, so enrollment is projected to increase sharply in 2015 and 2016,” the CBO said in its report.
The Affordable Care Act marks the largest U.S. expansion of health insurance in more than 40 years. The law was passed by a Democratically controlled Congress in 2010 and many of its major provisions took full effect Jan. 1. The ACA set up government- run insurance exchanges where Americans can buy private health plans with the help of federal tax credits and expanded eligibility in Medicaid.