Must-Read: CEPR: Beat the Press: The Affordable Care Act and Part-Time Employment: Voluntary vs. Involuntary

One of the not-irrational fears of blowback from ObamaCare was that the employer mandate to cover full-time workers would lead a lot of employers to cut worker hours back. Instead of full-time jobs at 40 hours/week, a lot of people would wind up with part-time jobs at 25 hours/week and no benefits–plus the 25 hours would shift from week to week, requiring that they be on call for 50 hours a week a so.

This led me to suspect that dropping the employer mandate might be a good idea. The employer mandate was there, after all, (a) to make large employers that could efficiently provide benefits pay a little if they had been gaming the system by using Medicaid as their benefits department, and (b) to diminish immediate churn of insurance upon ObamaCare implementation by making large employers that could efficiently provide benefits pay a little if they had started gaming the system by using the Exchange as their benefits department. Both of these appear, in retrospect, to have been starting at shadows. Hence dropping the employer mandate in order to reduce bureaucracy seems to me to be a good idea.

But the fear that the employer mandate was badly deranging the part-time/full-time labor market margin–a real fear ex ante, and one concerning which the data was fuzzy and slightly worrisome for a while–appears not to be a thing:

Must-Read: CEPR: Beat the PressThe Affordable Care Act and Part-Time Employment: Voluntary vs. Involuntary: “We here are CEPR were glad to see that new research confirms what we had shown earlier…

…the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not create a ‘part-time’ nation, as many of its opponents [had] warned…. [We] looked at the period when employers would have expected the sanctions to have been in effect, the first six months of 2013… [found] a small increase in the percentage of workers employed between 25 and 29 hours a week, just under the 30 hours a week cutoff… as… opponents… [had] predicted. However this increase was due to a reduction in the percentage of people working less than 25 hours a work….

Because people can now get insurance through the exchanges, many people will opt to work fewer hours at jobs that don’t provide health insurance… many parents with young children and possibly among older pre-Medicare age workers who might find it difficult to work full time…. Our takeaway is that the ACA is not taking away full-time jobs from people who need them, but it is giving many people an option to work part-time that they did not previously have. That looks like a pretty good deal.

Has the CEPR dropped bylines on Beat the Press because it has become a distributed anthology intelligence?


August 18, 2015

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