Obamacare and Employment

Vox’s Mattew Yglesias, an undaunted Obamacare supporter, has listed “7 charts that show what Obamacare critics are getting wrong.” The first is, you guessed it, that chart from the Gallup survey of health insurance, which (wrongly) claims Obamacare reduces the number of uninsured Americans.

Another chart claims that Obamacare is not causing part-time work at the expense of full-time work. Here it is:

Note how Mr. Yglesias’s chart begins in 2010, just when we finally started climbing out of the Great Recession. Trends in employment are caused by many things. Obamacare is only one of them. However, Obamacare did not cause the Great Recession (having been passed in 2010). And its effects are not bad enough to completely crush recovery. However, as comedian and U.S. Senator Al Franken has said, “It takes a lot more work to drive the car out of a ditch than to drive it into a ditch.”

Financial Advisor Doug Short has a great chart showing how part-time-workers and full-time workers flipped as a result of the recession. So, as we come out of it, of course full-time workers will gain.

The question is: What is the effect of Obamacare at the margin, notwithstanding all other effects? To answer this question, University of Chicago’s Casey Mulligan is the go-to source. Obamacare clearly induces many workers of a certain income to lose hours.

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For the pivotal alternative to Obamacare, please see the Independent Institute’s widely acclaimed book: Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman.

John R. Graham is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute.
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