Home / health care / Predictable predictions – ObamaCare edition

Predictable predictions – ObamaCare edition


Prediction 1: ObamaCare will cause employers to shift employees from full time to part time.

Liberal-biased reality: No.

A new study further undercuts a major claim by critics of the Affordable Care Act, who contended that the law would encourage companies to slash full-time workers’ hours and shift them into part-time work in order to avoid having to offer them health insurance.

The research “found little evidence that the ACA had caused increases in part-time employment as of 2015,” according to a summary of the findings published in the journal Health Affairs on Tuesday.

Prediction 2: Medicaid expansion will lead to job cuts.

Liberal-biased reality: Mmmm…


A related analysis released Tuesday also found that the expansion of Medicaid benefits to more poor adults in the United States — a crucial component of Obamacare — did not lead to job reductions or other significant employment changes in 2014, when the Medicaid expansion’s effects began being broadly felt.

So there you have it. Two predictably wrong predictions.

And since House Republicans sent a bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood to President Obama today, the study will be roundly denounced as liberal elitist jiggery pokery and perhaps shenanigans too.

The study: Little Change Seen in Part-Time Employment as a Result of the Affordable Care Act is behind a pay wall, but here’s the abstract.


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  • ThrottleJockey

    When Obama vetoes this it would be funny, if for no reason other than shits and giggles, for him to do it at a large hospital in Kentucky in the poorest, whitest county in the whole state…Just as the governor of Kentucky swears he’s going to cut off those poor people from the government teat. That would be an interesting juxtaposition.

    • kayden

      But then those poor White people would find a way to blame him for cutting them off from the government teat. For some reason, they find it easier to blame the Black guy rather than the White Governor who is actually screwing them around.

  • AMK

    The second claim is ridiculous, but the first makes a certain amount of common sense…if I owned a business and was a complete asshole, I can imagine myself doing the math on how much money I might be able to save by cutting staff hours and weighing that against some idea of productivity. Studies aside, I’m sure the GOP won’t have any problem finding a few small business cases where this has happened to use as political props.

    • alex284

      The issue with finding a few examples is that it’s impossible to tell if they actually reduced hours because of the ACA or just because of some other reason.

      If I were a Republican business owner who was going to reduce some employees’ hours because of, for example, slow business, what would it cost me to say that it was because of the ACA?

      This is an actual issue because lots of business owners are Republicans and (won’t bother to look up the link) polls of business owners were showing that many were saying they were cutting hours because of the ACA before the relevant portions even went into effect.

      • Derelict

        It’s not just business owners–here in Vermont, the State is cutting the hours of some employees to 24 per week or less explicitly to avoid having to provide health insurance under ACA. A handful with jobs and outside income that make them eligible for “independent contractor” status under the IRS rules are being converted to such–again to avoid the costs of providing health insurance under ACA.

        Anecdata? Sure. But cases where ACA is, indeed, producing the predicted effect.

        • alex284

          Link? Google doesn’t turn up anything but my search-fu might not be great.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        If I were a Republican business owner who was going to reduce some employees’ hours because of, for example, slow business, what would it cost me to say that it was because of the ACA?

        Just like, I strongly suspect, for two generations, some people have been telling white people they didn’t give the job to that they would have liked to, but hey, affirmative action. I’ve heard it around so much it can’t possibly be true.

    • so-in-so

      Except if you are that big an a–hole you probably already cut everyone to part time if not “independent contractor” status to save a couple of dollars.

  • Nobdy

    Mitt Romney promised an unemployment rate of 6%.

    3 years into Obama’s second reign of terror is anybody even TALKING about 6% as a goal for the unemployment rate?


    #Nobama #jobkiller

    • kayden

      Who actually believes that Romney gave a damn about the unemployment rate for “those people”? If he was President, his focus would be on the 1% and making sure that they were tax free and as protected as possible. Those are his people after all.

    • LiveFreeOrShop

      There’s a lesson here, everybody: don’t let your cat walk on the keyboard while you’re logged in. The results can be embarrassing.

    • werewitch

      Don’t worry, Nobdy; some of us got the joke. :)

      (For those who didn’t get it: the current unemployment rate is *better* than 6%. It’s currently 5%.)

  • catclub

    The new! and updated! ‘everything is awesome’ article – at politico – is a very good antidote to negative feelings.

    The list of bad things that have been predicted as inevitable, but have not happened, since about january, 2009, is notable.

    • witlesschum

      I actually just read that. It’s interesting to read something so positive about the Obama presidency which is sprinkled through with sort of stock Politico isms about politics.

      • witlesschum

        One thing I noted but forgot to type was that there’s not much happy talk about labor. Lily Ledbetter and the rule against calling people making less than $50,000 managers to dodge overtimes rules are the only thing that stickes.

        Not sure whether to conclude that there weren’t many Obama Admin attempts to increase unionism, whether they were ineffective or whether Politico chose not to mention them.

  • Fraud Guy

    Locally, it is larger health care providers (doctor’s groups and hospitals) who have used Obamacare as the excuse to workers to cut hours and benefits for lower end workers (registration and the like) even as they buy each other out to improve market share.

  • Jason

    I’ve talkied to a few workers whose hours have been reduced from part-time to less part-time ostensibly for Obamacare. anecdotes not evidence though.

    • alex284

      How did these workers know it was Obamacare? I mean, did their employers tell them that? And were the employers telling the truth?

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Also, there is a larger economic pattern going on here that has momentum from long before Obamacare. From steady jobs with unions to just steady jobs, then from full time to part time, and now, from part time to “you just come in for a few hours when we call you, we can’t even give you a schedule, the computer says we need you from 2 pm to 6 pm today, come in right now.”


      • Jason

        The employers told the employees that they were cutting their hours because of Obamacare. I have no idea if the employers reasoning is accurate, they could easily be just using Obamacare as a scapegoat.

  • alex284

    Wait, economists using economics data from the Council of Economic Advisers to prove that liberal legislation that benefits lower income workers is good?

    But, but, but… economics is just a tool of capitalism! I know this because a writer at Reason who has no background in economics is an asshole!

  • CP

    Prediction 1: ObamaCare will cause employers to shift employees from full time to part time.

    What I always loved about this prediction was the belief that there were all these corporations out there that could shift a ton of their employees to part-time, but really didn’t want to, because they’re such mensches, but if Obamacare passed, then they’d totally start. Big corporations started shifting their employees to part-time status (and other fun things like requiring them to be on-call even during those hours when they weren’t working) a long time ago, and they would’ve continued to do it with or without Obamacare.

    • so-in-so

      OTOH, it did provide a one-word excuse to cover what they were doing AND shift blame to the black guy in the whitehouse. Double score!

    • Cassiodorus

      Another one that I always found bizarre was the idea that employers would get rid of insurance for existing employees. If you provided insurance pre-ACA, why would you drop it when the only change is that dropping it would require you to pay a penalty?

      • witlesschum

        My own anecdata was that our employer(a tiny business under the cap where requires kick in) was basically providing coverage because she felt she had to get decent employees/the goodness of her heart and then felt comfortable just pointing everyone to Healthcare.gov.

        (Was one of my idiot coworkers bitching and moaning about Obama because she couldn’t work said website? Did I figure out how to do the things she wanted to do in five minutes despite never having looked at the website before? The answers are yes, of course and yes.)

        But I realize my situation is probably fairly unique and doesn’t invalidate the numbers above because I make an effort to train myself to think this way. As many people do not. Among the many things we need to be teaching in public school is a basic skepticism class.

  • LiveFreeOrShop

    In a few surveys early on, some employers “said” they were going to cut staff because of the ACA, but the numbers never showed up. It was just crankiness or C-suite diktat. Where increases in PT jobs showed up, it was often voluntary–this increased worker mobility was part of the ACA.

    Employers have, however, been converting jobs to contractor positions for at least 10 years. A whole industry of “agencies” has sprung up to support this evasion of responsibility. It sucks. The IRS needs to strengthen its rules so that employers do not have even more incentives to screw workers.

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