New analysis points to another reason for growing ACA popularity: More freedom

Health-Reform-SBFinding irony and contradictions in the arguments espoused by Obamacare haters is not a difficult thing to do. Heck, one of the nation’s most powerful opponents of the new law is trying to force its repeal even as he embraces its remarkably positive impact in his home state!

That said, a new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research points to an especially interesting and problematic finding for opponents who continue to lambaste the law as an “assault on freedom”: the law is actually enhancing freedom. It’s doing this for millions of average Americans in a vitally important way by expanding their choices when it comes to how, when and where they work. Here’s the introduction:

“Most of the discussion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has focused on the extent to which it has extended health insurance coverage to the formerly uninsured. This is certainly an important aspect of the law. However by allowing people to buy insurance through the exchanges and extending Medicaid coverage to millions of people,
the ACA also largely ends workers’ dependence on their employer for insurance. This gives tens of millions of people the option to change their job, to work part-time, or take time off to be with young children or family members in need of care, or to retire early.

While we are still in the first year of the operation of the exchanges and the Medicaid expansion, we do have six months of data that can be examined to assess the ACA’s impact on the labor market. This paper examines the evidence that the ACA has enabled people to work part-time who might previously have felt the need to work full-time in order to qualify for employer-provided health insurance (EPHI).

There has been a notable uptick in voluntary part-time employment in the first seven months that the exchanges have been in operation. Table 1 shows the average number of workers who reported they were voluntarily working part-time (less than 35 hours a week) in the first seven months of 2014 compared to the prior five years. The table shows that the monthly average was 372,000 higher in the first seven months of 2014 than in the same months of 2013. While this may in part reflect cyclical dynamics (there was a larger increase in 2012), there is not a simple relationship between a strengthening labor market and increased part-time employment. Voluntary part-time employment rose by just 43,000 in 2013 and actually fell as a share of total employment.”

Read the entire brief by clicking here. But, of course, don’t expect opponents to concede the powerful truth of the findings anytime soon. As the study’s co-author Dean Baker tweeted this morning:

“ACA is letting parents of young children work part-time to be with kids more, naturally Republicans want to kill it.”

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