Gauging the effects of health care reform

Will the Affordable Care Act make us a nation of part-time workers? Critics of the law say yes. Supporters say no. The sluggish state of the economy and the complexity of the law make it difficult to say who’s more right.

Yes it will: Access to medical benefits without having to work full time may persuade many people to choose part-time work, according to this Business Insider post by Vivian Giang, citing a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. “Moving from full-time employment to part-time employment will trigger generous assistance with health premiums and out-of-pocket expenses that can offset much of the income lost due to reduced work hours,” says the paper by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan. tinyurl.com/MorePartTime

No it won’t: “Is Obamacare affecting full vs. part-time employment?” asks a post at the financial-news site Benzinga. Using a series of graphics to demonstrate its points, the post says, so far, that does not appear to be the case. Part-time employment, while still very high since the recession, does not appear to be spiking in response to the law. tinyurl.com/PartTimeNoEffect

It’s a mixed bag: Fact-checking sites have sought to determine if workers will be hurt in high-profile moves by companies such as Trader Joe’s and Home Depot to send part-time workers to the health exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. This one, at CNN.com, says the result is a mixed bag for the tens of thousands of workers affected. tinyurl.com/PartTimeFactCheck

Wait and see: “Some businesses have already begun downsizing their staffs or cutting hours, making full-time employees part-timers, often in an effort to reduce the costs of insuring them,” says this HuffingtonPost.com article on “valid concerns” over the Affordable Care Act. But the “overall damage” to employment and hiring could be overstated and only time will make it clear, the article says. tinyurl.com/9Concerns

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