Human Capital & Careers

Obamacare May Push More to Work Less

The Affordable Care Act may have Americans working fewer hours, by choice.
Aram Zucker-ScharffFebruary 4, 2014

A new report from Congress projects 2.5 million fewer jobs due to the Affordable Care Act’s effect over the next 10 years, but the drop will mostly come from Americans reducing their own work hours. With easier access to health care outside of the full-time job market, some may drop out to pursue passions or join the rising freelance trend.

The Congressional Budget Office’s latest report projects that the ACA will cause the number of full-time-equivalent workers to drop significantly. The reduction’s primary source will be workers looking to supply fewer hours. The 2014 to 2024 Budget and Economic Outlook report states:

“The ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor — given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive.”

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While the exact reasons for the decrease in labor are unclear, the report states that the new law could make it easier for workers to take jobs that match their skills, now that they don’t have to worry about insurance.

What will workers be doing when they work less? If they follow rising patterns seen elsewhere, some may take advantage of the ACA to join the growing freelance trend. CFOs may be among them.

A 2009 poll by The Daily Beast found one-third of respondents working “either freelance or in two jobs.” A 2011 Reuters article found freelance jobs skyrocketing. CNBC reports that, with the help of technology, about 42 million Americans are now freelancers.

Source: The worst headline for Democrats this year from The Washington Post.