Affordable Health Care Act to cost US nearly 2 million jobs

President Barack Obama’s health law will cut the US workforce by the equivalent of more than two million workers, budget analysts say. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-26041966

The reductions will begin in 2017 after the law’s provisions take full effect, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in its report.

Lower-income workers will be hardest hit, limiting their hours to avoid losing federal subsidies.

Conservatives and the White House promptly clashed over the findings.

In Tuesday’s report, the nonpartisan CBO said work hours would be reduced by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers by 2021. It had previously estimated the health law would result in 800,000 fewer workers.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, will result in a slower rate of employment growth over the next decade, according to the findings.

The congressional analysts say there will be fewer workers because healthcare subsidies would “reduce incentives to work” and pose an “implicit tax on working” for those returning to a job with health insurance.

The CBO said some US businesses may also decide to reduce their workforce to fewer than 50 full-time employees to avoid having to provide health insurance as mandated under the law.

Employees may also face lower wages due to tax levees and penalties against their employers, the report found.

The CBO findings provided fodder for conservatives, who are expected to make the health law a major issue in November’s midterm elections.

“The middle class is getting squeezed in this economy, and this CBO report confirms that Obamacare is making it worse,” Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

Glitches that plagued the healthcare website during its October rollout would probably result in one million fewer enrolled participants than initially anticipated, the CBO found.

The president’s Democratic allies have been trying to distance themselves from the issue in the lead-up to November’s elections.

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