What Effect Will the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) Have on Jobs?

Jessica SarterSmall Business

The Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) recently issued a report dealing with the impact of “Obamacare” on employment. The Republicans and the Democrats, as usual, found some language in the report to support their respective bias concerning the Affordable Care Act, as to whether the Act will cost jobs or reduce unemployment.

The report in Appendix C clearly states that the impact will probably occur after 2016 and the result will be a voluntary reduction in hours worked by lower wage workers and the impact on the economy will be proportionally smaller than the reduction in hours worked. It does not say there will be a loss of 2 to 2.5 million jobs or an increase in unemployment. The report says “. . . if some people seek to work less, other applicants will be readily available to fill those positions and the overall effect on employment will be muted.” In addition the report indicates that the Act will stimulate demand for health care services, allow low-income households to direct funds to purchase other goods and services and increase overall demand, inducing some employers to hire more workers.

A careful reading of the report clearly leaves one with the impression that that there are so many unknown elements that could affect the results of implementation of the Act that any conclusion with respect to its effect on jobs, unemployment rates or the economy is mere speculation.