For Immediate Release: March 6, 2017
Washington D.C. – The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, is on the path to be repealed, and supposedly replaced. A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), shows that the ACA has not only increased the number of people insured, but also made it so workers have the flexibility to choose the type of job they want and still have the security of having health insurance.
The report, “The Affordable Care Act and the Change in Voluntary Part-Time Employment by States”, provides a state-by-state basis for assessing the increase in labor market flexibility as a result of the ACA and what would be lost if the law were repealed without a replacement that provides an equal or better level of security in obtaining health care insurance.
Every month, more than 5 million people leave or lose their job, which often means losing their employer-provided health insurance. Regaining coverage after leaving a job, especially with a pre-existing condition, can be highly unaffordable, if available at all. The ACA has made it possible so people can leave a job they don’t want and still have access to health insurance while finding a position they do want.
Since the ACA went into effect, the number of people working part-time by choice has increased by about 1.8 million – predominantly among young parents and older workers who do not qualify for Medicare yet. These data do not rely on a person’s opinion on the law, which may be colored by their political affiliation; rather, it answers the question: “Are you working part-time because you want to?” The large gains in voluntary part-time employment indicate that people are taking advantage of the security that the ACA provides and are enjoying more freedom in their work.
Dean Baker, co-author of the report, states that “It seems nonsensical that policymakers would ignore the benefits of the increased worker freedom the ACA has provided. Presumably, if the ACA were repealed without some comparable system of insurance put in its place, these numbers give an indication of how many people would again be forced to seek out full time employment to get employer-provided health insurance, even though part-time work better fits their needs.”