Thursday, December 18, 2014

The ACA’s overall impact on employment, however, will arguably be larger than that of any single piece of legislation since World War II.

Much of the ACA’s tax effect resembles unemployment insurance: both encourage layoffs and discourage people from returning to work.
Starting this year, the United States’ working population will face three major employment disincentives resulting from the very benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides: (1) an explicit tax on full-time work, (2) an implicit tax on full-time work for those who are ineligible for the ACA’s health insurance subsidies, and (3) an implicit tax that links the amount of available subsidies to workers’ incomes.

A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University advances the understanding of how much these ACA taxes will reduce overall employment, and why. It concludes that the reduction will be nearly double that projected by previous analyses. Labor markets ultimately will reduce weekly employment per person by about 3 percent—translating to roughly 4 million fewer full-time-equivalent workers.

Below is a brief summary of this important update. Please see “The Affordable Care Act and the New Economics of Part-Time Work” to read the entire study and to learn more about author Casey B. Mulligan, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago.

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