By Peter Suderman | Reason.com
Obamacare isn’t a job killer, at least not according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). But it is a work killer.
That might sound like a meaningless distinction, but there is a difference. Obamacare, according to the CBO, isn’t going to cause employers to terminate millions of jobs. But it is projected to cause millions of people—about 2 million in 2017, and 2.5 million by 2024—to quit working, or work fewer hours than they otherwise would have.
The White House has declared that this is a good thing. Thanks to Obamacare, the administration said in a statement last week, “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.” People will “no longer be trapped in a job” just to get coverage. Obamacare will allow people to “pursue their dreams.”
What might that look like in practice? The bulk of the reduction in the labor force isn’t expected to occur until 2017, but with the help of Families USA, a health care advocacy group that supports Obamacare, The Washington Post has already found of two people who have quit working because the law: a 56 year-old Indiana woman who left a payroll administration job when her duties changed and now babysits her granddaughter full time, and a 44 year-old Texas man who quit an $88,000 job in order “to help his nephew, a cancer survivor, start a social media and video-gaming site for other teens with the disease.” It’s an unpaid position.