Study: Economists Fear Obamacare Employment Effects
Because of the ambitions of the Affordable Care Act to extend coverage to nearly all uninsured Americans, the individual mandate is significantly more important than its complement — the employer mandate. The fact is that the system created by the health care reform, popularly known as Obamacare, will not work without the individual mandate; it requires that every American who can afford to do so must purchase an insurance policy so that individuals will be able to comparison-shop for health insurance policies in online marketplaces where their collective bargaining power will theoretically foster competition and drive down prices. But the employer mandate was designed to slow the break-up of employer-based insurance plans and the flow of tax credits, which will subsidize the purchase of coverage on the individual exchange.
Like the individual mandate, the employer mandate has received its share of criticism.
Many have made the argument that the Obamacare provision that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees provide those workers with a minimum level of health insurance coverage or face tax penalties will cause employers to shift employees’ schedules so that they will no longer be considered full time or layoff workers entirely. There is also the concern that employers will choose to hire more part-time workers rather than full-time workers.
“Well, if you don’t believe ObamaCare is the biggest job killer in the country, look to the facts,” argued Republican Senator Ted Cruz in his 21-hour speech on the Senate floor at the end of September. “This year report after report has rolled in about employers restricting work hours to less than 30 hours per week–the point where the mandate kicks in. The data also points to record-low workweeks in low-wage industries.”