ObamaCare Not Shifting Workers to Part-Time Jobs

ObamaCare has not caused employers to shift workers into part-time work, according to a new study.

The study, released Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, examines the claim made by critics of the law that employers will make more people work part-time in order to avoid having to give them health insurance.

The law mandates that employers provide health insurance for people working 30 hours or more per week. This had sparked reports that some employers would cut hours to avoid paying out insurance.

However, the study, which looks at data from the Current Population Survey, does not find evidence to support suggestions the law would have such an effect.

The authors write that their study finds “no evidence consistent with the thesis that the ACA caused an overall increase in part-time employment in the United States.”

The probability of working 25-29 hours a week has stayed essentially flat over the last few years, even after the employer mandate went into effect in 2015. The probability of working 30-34 hours also did not decrease.

Even Hillary Clinton last month said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was contributing to more part-time work.

Kosali Simon, a professor at Indiana University and one of the study’s authors, said in an interview that there is no evidence of change in part-time work on a large scale beyond stories of a few companies.

“Certainly anecdotal evidence exists that some companies have taken this strategy, but when we look at this aggregate national level there isn’t evidence of any large scale changes,” she said.

The employer mandate, which was delayed from its original start in 2014, went into effect for employers with 100 or more workers in 2015. It only just went into effect, at the start of 2016, for employers with 50-99 workers, so it is possible more effects will emerge over time.

Some ObamaCare supporters have also argued that the law could help workers by reducing “job lock” — the need to stay at a job only because it provided health insurance.

A separate study in Health Affairs released Tuesday found that the law’s expansion of Medicaid had not had that effect, or really made much of a change at all to the labor market.

“In general, all the papers coming out about the ACA and the labor market are not showing large effects in any way,” Simon said.

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