CBO: 2 million jobs' worth of hours lost under ObamaCare


ObamaCare will force a reduction in American work hours — the equivalent of 2 million jobs over the next decade, Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper said Monday.

The total workforce will shrink by just under 1 percent as a result of changes in worker participation because of the new coverage expansions, mandates and changes in tax rates, according to a 22-page report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

“Some people would choose to work fewer hours; others would leave the labor force entirely or remain unemployed for longer than they otherwise would,” the agency said in its latest analysis of the now five-year-old law.

The CBO is not predicting that employers will fire millions of workers or reduce hours because of the law, but that the law changes incentives over the years for the workers themselves both in part-time and full-time positions.

That could mean that older Americans who wish to retire but have remained in the workforce solely for employer health benefits could opt to leave their jobs.

Republicans were quick to seize on the report, which provides an update through 2025.

“When the President’s health law hurts the labor force at the same time it increases healthcare premiums and taxes, it’s clear the law is not working for the American people,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin HatchThe holy grail of tax policy GOP lawmakers ask IRS to explain M wasted on unusable email system GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (R-Utah.).

“The CBO’s latest report confirms yet another broken promise and negative consequence stemming from Obamacare.”

The administration in the past has argued that the CBO figures also reflect new flexibility provided to workers through the healthcare law. It has also repeatedly disputed claims that the law is a "job killer" by pointing to the new jobs created with the millions of people who gained healthcare coverage.

From the month ObamaCare became law, "the private sector has added 13.7 million jobs over 69 straight months, the longest streak on record," a White House spokeswoman said.

The lower numbers could also mean that older Americans who wish to retire but have remained in the workforce solely for employer health benefits could opt to leave their jobs.

The CBO said its estimates were still based on uncertain evidence, citing, for example, that it does not know yet how people will respond to the work incentives created by the law.

The report comes just days after the Senate voted for the first time to send a repeal of the biggest pieces of ObamaCare to the president’s desk. Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan has little margin for error in Speaker vote Chaffetz says he'll vote for Trump The Trail 2016: Comeback in the works? MORE (R-Wis.) pledged last week, during his most significant speech to date, that he planned to roll out a replacement plan for the healthcare law next year.