Published December 20, 2015
The long-term effect of ObamaCare on the U.S. economy was rewritten Tuesday with the Congressional Budget Office issuing a revised projection that nearly 2.5 million workers could opt out of full-time jobs over the next 10 years -- allowing employers to wipe 2.3 million full-time jobs off the books.
Budget experts say that because ObamaCare offers an insurance alternative to employer provided coverage, many Americans who hold full-time jobs may decide to work part-time -- or not at all -- and get their coverage from the exchanges.
Following the release of the report, House Speaker John Boehner said the report showed how “the middle class is getting squeezed in this economy.”
The report drew immediate reaction from GOP lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner who said the report indicates ObamaCare is only making it harder for middle-class Americans to survive in the bad economy.
Others, like Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., weighed in.
“ObamaCare is only making things worse,” Ryan said in a written statement. “This costly law is not only pushing government spending to new heights, it is disrupting coverage and leaving millions of Americans worse off.”
The budget office says jobs will also be lost because employers may choose to hire less full-time workers or reduce the hours of their staff.
In 2010, the CBO projected ObamaCare would lead to about 650,000 fewer jobs. Tuesday’s new 2.3 million estimate is significantly higher.
The report states ObamaCare will also lead to a reduction of the net number of total hours worked by as much as 2 percent in the period from 2017 to 2024. It states that “lower-wage workers” will see the biggest reduction in the number of hours worked.
The agency also reduced its estimate of the number of uninsured people who will get coverage through the health care law.
The budget experts now say about 2 million fewer people will get covered this year than had been expected, partly because of website problems that prevented people from signing up last fall when new markets for subsidized private insurance went live.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, called the report “devastating” to the millions of Americans seeking employment.
“A direct threat to the long-term health and prosperity of our nation, this law must be repealed,” Hatch, R-Utah, said in a statement. “Its impact and consequences are too great.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the report indicates ObamaCare is making things worse for Americans.
“This costly law is not only pushing government spending to new heights; it is disrupting coverage and leaving millions of Americans worse off,” Ryan, R-Wis., said.
However, the White House focused on the report's claim that the loss of jobs will not be due to employers cutting back, but due to Americans choosing to voluntarily leave the workforce. White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement the report proves ObamaCare is allowing Americans to be "empowered" to make such a choice.
"At the beginning of this year, we noted that as part of this new day in health care, Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide coverage for their families, and would have the opportunity to pursue their dreams," he said. "This CBO report bears that out, and the Republican plan to repeal the ACA would strip those hard-working Americans of that opportunity."
Carney also says the report does not take into account the estimate by experts that lower health care costs due to ObamaCare will lead to thousands of jobs being added to the economy annually.
The report also predicted the U.S. budget deficit would fall to $514 billion this year, down substantially from last year and the lowest level by far since President Obama took office five years ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report