Letter: ACA and work force

February 14, 2014 

The Congressional Budget Office felt compelled to put out another memo, reiterating what was clearly stated in the original report: Up to 2.5 million people may choose to leave full-time work when they have the option of getting affordable health insurance elsewhere. It did not say 2.5 million jobs would be lost.

Here is CBO's Doug Elmendorf:

Q: Will 2.5 Million people lose their jobs in 2024 because of the ACA?

A: No, The report says: "CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period 2017-24, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor."

Because the longer-term reduction in work is expected to come almost entirely from a decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply in response to the changes in their incentives, it is not accurate to say that the reduction stems from people "losing" their jobs. These jobs will still be available for the rest of the work force.

There's at least half a dozen more paragraphs, explaining in the simplest possible terms what the CBO said about workers and health insurance. It should be clear now.


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