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Diminishing Workforce Projected as a Long-Term Result of Obamacare

Ken Fager
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According to the report, Obamacare will push approximately 2 million workers out of the labor market by 2017.

Though it has been only four months since the public rollout of Obamacare, many of the immediate shortcomings of the program have already been made evident and their impact felt: a technically defective website, immediate and unexpected plan cancellations, and premium increases are among the most widely reported problems.

But on Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report with the findings of the long-term economic impact of the healthcare overhaul – a scenario that appears to be less than optimistic. According to the report, Obamacare will push approximately 2 million workers out of the labor market by 2017, as employees work fewer hours or quit their jobs entirely in order to claim government assistance and escape the income tax hikes that are funding the program.

“CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 to 2 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,” wrote CBO analysts. CBO also projected that the exchange website’s initial glitches will result in fewer applicants than originally expected: 6 million rather than 7 million. However, the prospects for providing coverage for the nation’s uninsured seem good, with a figure of 30 million uninsured individuals by 2020 (down from the present 45 million).

CBO also took a look at the general debt. While Congress has made significant headway into lowering the deficit ($514 billion in 2014), projections show that this figure is expected to climb back over $1 trillion in 2022.

Read the report in full at CBO’s website.

Alberto González is the Associate Editor of Aleteia’s English edition. His prior endeavors have included working in political campaigns and in the United States Senate. He also maintains an active schedule as a liturgical vocalist and organist.

A native of California, Alberto graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 with a B.A. in Music and Political Science. He currently lives in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

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