The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported this week that the Affordable Care Act discourages work among those receiving subsidies to pay their health insurance premiums.

The CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the number of hours worked by 1.5 to 2 percent from 2017 to 2024.   That represents “a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”

Conservative politicians are enjoying another problem with Obamacare, while liberals are straining to explain how this is really a good thing. (Seriously, they are.)

The CBO explains it quite simply.  “Subsidies decline with rising income (and increase as income falls), thus making work less attractive.  As a result, some people will choose not to work or will work for less.”

Just as extending unemployment benefits discourages people from taking a job, prorating health insurance premium subsides to income will discourage some people from trying to move up the economic ladder.

The CBO says some people will choose to work less, but will still be able to maintain the same standard of living.  That, says CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, is a “disincentive for people to work.”

The conclusions make economic sense, of course, but that doesn’t stop the left from arguing, presumably with a straight face, the alleged positive side of the findings.

The New York Times calls the data “liberating.”  “Many workers who felt obliged to stay in a job that provided health benefits would now be able to leave those jobs or choose to work fewer hours than they otherwise would have,” the Times opined.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the CBO report showed that thanks to Obamacare, workers would be “empowered” to leave their jobs.

If this is a good thing, let’s all punch out early and celebrate the emancipation.

It’s not of course, and anyone who has worked hard to improve their station in life and their family’s opportunities for success knows it.

The Times, Carney and the rest have it backward. It is work that’s liberating and empowering, not government dependency.  America was forged on the principle of equal opportunity to pursue one’s aspirations.  A doctrine of the feminist movement was breaking down barriers in the workplace so women could have their own economic success without depending on a man.

Working hard does not guarantee success, but it does improve your chances. What message does it send to Americans who do the math and figure out ways to keep their income down (or perhaps off the books) so they can get the highest possible subsidy for their health insurance?

Creating legislation that discourages work is counter to the American way, along with being lousy economics.


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  • Dewey Norman


    Do you really believe that most people in the USA are that way, that we all want is something for nothing?
    We give away more money overseas every year to foreign countries than we give to our own people.
    If you really believe that most Americans are lazy and want a free handout, then I am quite disappointed in you. You think just like the rich politicians do. Most of them are millionaires.

    Dewey Norman

    • Jonus Grumby

      “We give away more money overseas every year to foreign countries than we give to our own people.”

      Nope. Not even close. In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government allocated $54.2 billion in total economic and military assistance to foreign causes. In that same period the US budget allocated $471.5 billion in total welfare benefits alone. Other years have similar ratios. Source: usgovernmentspending dot com

    • JasonMccallister

      Agree completely

    • Ole Sasquatch

      Now Dewey you must check your figures here.
      We do live in the world. You just should not go public with things that cannot be backed up simply because you feel that way or drinking up the gossip.

    • Ole Sasquatch

      Now Dewey you need to check yourself on some of the things your saying here. We live in the real world. Check your figures before you go public.

  • Hop'sHip

    19th Century Hoppy arguing against The Emancipation Proclamation: "Ending slavery will result in less incentive to work."

    • Shadow

      I read the article three times and I didn't see where Hoppy discussed the Emancipation Proclamation. However, your point that Obamacare is as big a hoax as the Emancipation Proclamation is true.

    • Aaron

      You're implying that Hoppi is arguing against healthcare, and and I just don't see. What he's arguing against is the cost of Obamacare.

      Your logic of his arguing against slavery would be the same as saying of abolitionist of the antebellum era's manner of defeating slavery would be to purchase all the slaves and free them.

      • Hop'sHip

        Hoppy implies that Democrats are against work, and I don't see it. I think they are arguing is that freeing people from job lock. We are the only economy in the world where people feel the need to stay in jobs they hate (and thus are likely to be unproductive) solely for health care coverage reasons. In a global economy, that does not seem to be a wise policy to continue.

        • Aaron

          I don't know about Hoppy but my cue that Democrats view on work originates from democratic entitlement programs.

          And while I agree tying insurance to a job can be cumbersome, isn't that to be expected when health care is an employee funded benefit?

          What I don't see is meow mandating a private insurance company cover cost for everyone is going to reduce cost. I don't suppose you can explain that, can you?

          • Aaron

            I can't help but note Mr. Hip that you didn't attempt to answer my question. Meow is mandating insurance, subsidized by the American taxpayer, going to lower health care cost?

          • Aaron

            I could pull the Super Troopers prank and say you have to work meow into the conversation 12 times and then wonder meow in the world you don't understand that but if you didn't see the movie, it doesn't work.

            The truth is fat, fingers on an iphone with auto correct.

            At any rate, I do wonder meow you didn't understand what I was saying and answer the question.

            How does Obamacare lower the cost of healthcare?

          • Hop'sHip

            Got me on that one. I'm not familiar with "meow mandating". But I have learned that it is never a good idea to put a cat in charge.

        • The bookman

          I think Hoppy is explaining that there are two versions of the ACA. The one that we were sold with its host of benefits and promises, and the one we have. And as the implementation of this boondoggle continues, the negatives are far outweighing the positives.

    • Horse Man

      Folks, sometimes we find living proof that with the progressive characteristics of the human race even ignorance can be taught to read and write.

      • Hop'sHip

        Hmmm. One poster here includes the enlightened statement:

        "Under Obama everything is 'Free.'"

        And you find mine the most ignorant. I do admit to playing the partisan hack, just like Hoppy. Its what we do here.

        • Shadow

          Is it true that you masquerade under the nom de plume of Fungo also?

          • GregG

            You should call PETA on us Fungo!! Oh, that's right, you detest organizations such as PETA, EPA, OSHA, DEP etc.....

          • Shadow

            Fungo Joe, glad to hear you are alive and well. Your comments have been missed.

          • FungoJoe

            Hey, don't drag me into the middle of your name calling. I'm on the sidelines and get my amusement from the lunatic left. No matter the topic, the liberal leftists always beat the dead horse of greed, big business, and big whatever. I got tired of the same ole same ole. They should be prosecuted for animal abuse as much as they beat that poor ole dead horse.

  • marco

    Thank you sir may I have another

  • Hop'sHip

    The CBO report also says that ACA will reduce the federal deficit. The Republicans argue that we should repeal the law and throw 13 million people off healthcare coverage and increase the budget. Serioiusly, they do.) They actually say with a straight face that this would be good for America. Repealing legislation that save lives may be consistent with some people's idea of "the American way", but sure is lousy ethics.

    • Aaron

      The initial CBO estimate showed that the affordable care act would reduce the deficit. It did so by redirecting student loan profits from the banking industry into Obamacare.

      That CBO estimate was based on six years of paying out versus 1o years of income. Every CBO estimate since has projected that Obamacare will in fact raise the National debt.

      Obamacare is the largest tax ever imposed on the American taxpayer. That is a plain and simple fact.

      • Hop'sHip

        I was playing the same game you and Hoppy play. Pulling something out of context to score a cheap poliitical point.

        The report is complicated and really deserves serious analysis. Hoppy chose not to do that and went for the cheap political score. I don't doubt that will leave most of his followers here happier, if not more enlighteded.

        • Aaron

          The biggest problem I have with it is that it takes student loan money and diverts dollars from education to call you for health care.

          In my opinion regardless of how student loans are financed,student loan money should be put back into education and not diverted to healthcare in misguided attempt to make healthcare look less costly than it truly is.

          • Aaron

            I really hate other quick sometime.

            The first paragraph should read it diverts money from education to cover for healthcare costs.

        • wirerowe

          I agree that the bill is very complicated which makes the budget analysis even more complicated particularly when people haven't acted the way that the way that the framers of the bill thought they would. I think the point about the act costing jobs is somewhat about cherry picking. but clearly on the surface this is not a positive or laudable outcome. The implementation and impact are far more complex and certainly in cases more negative than the almost free lunch worthy goals of the legislation. The act must be looked at in part for it's intent, leaving aside the president's misrepresentations, and in a larger part looked at the total spectrum of positive and negative impacts of the implementation.

          • The bookman


  • william

    I love all my free stuff

  • TD

    Once again you're seeing the wrong side of the problem. The problem is the healthcare industry literally has a license to steal in this country and the reality is a lot of people have been stuck in jobs that offer no upward mobility because they had to have healthcare for their family. I personally know several people who work in the prison or for the local town that this is the case.

    Most employees have long been in the position with their employers, "whatever you do don't take my healthcare benefits away." So they get no pay raises, etc...

    And the same for employers who are paying outrageous premiums on employees rather than being able to better compensate them. I've never understood why the business community doesn't come together and say we want out of being the healthcare provider.

    If you only look at one thing I ever post I ask you to visit google and type in the search bar the following, healthcare chart showing relationship between spending and life expectancy. What you will see should shock you as 22 nations have a longer life expectancy than we do and almost all pay half in cost.

    • Kevin McMillen

      The problem is much more than cost. Why does Cuba have a life expectancy quite similar to ours at a fraction of the cost?

      Sure cost is one problem, a problem that tort reform would partially solve.

      If you're going to use charts (that don't give all the picture) I'd like to see a chart on the average Doctor visits per capita in said nations.

      Do U.S. citizens frequent medical facilities more than others from other nations?

      Could it be our unhealthy way of life that is a bigger problem than cost?

      In the countries with a higher life expectancy, what percentage are smokers? What percentage don't exercise? What percentage eat processed foods? What percentage are alchoholics?

      Those things are problems that probably lend to the high costs.

      So how do we solve this? More Government involvement?

      Do we really want laws that tell us how much we have to exercise? Laws that tell us that we must eat an orange rather than a Big Mac?

      How much individual freedom are we willing to give up to live three or four years longer?

      Me think you are missing the real problems.

    • Kevin McMillen

      If that is the case then I suggest you move to one of those 22 countries.

    • Aaron

      I'm curious td, how does Obamacare reduce or lower the cost of healthcare and how will it add years to American life expectancy?

  • Wirerowe

    Jay carney's and New York Times quotes are farcical. What is happening is that tax payers or those already insured are subsidizing some people's premiums to the point that it does not make economic sense for them to work. For the most part the affordable health care is a massive income redistribution from one part of the middle income class that are either forced to buy insurance that they did not want or more insurance than they need with higher deductibles and premiums to another part of the middle income class or another. The winners are the rich and the insurance companies who will lose money but will be nailed out by the taxpayers so that they make money and save the affordable Care act. Most of the new enrollees in exchanges are not those previously uninsured but those who lost their insurance last year and this year because of the affordable care act.

    • Mac

      "This is the liberal's ideal of the opportunity society. Of course in the free society you can decide if you want to work, but what ObamaCare does, in sort of the essence of liberalism, is that you can then choose not to work and the people who do work end up subsidizing you. Those people have to send the money to the government and it's then shifted to the people who chose, in this ideal new opportunity society, not to work.” So says Charles Krauthammer. It's also quite funny that liberals are convinced that true freedom for everyone is allowing oneself to do as they wish. Look at how the marijuana issue is opening up, and the libs love it. Yet, it was the Democrats in the '60's and 70's who blasted big tobacco. Their position was that we can’t afford to continue watching hundreds of thousands of our children develop a dangerous and preventable addiction before they’ve even entered adulthood. That’s why the Obama administration will continue to take all appropriate steps to reduce the marketing, sale and appeal of tobacco products to America’s youth. But yet, marijuana is now "acceptable?" And when you add gun control legislation to stop the killing of innocent people, especially school children, the liberals stand on their chairs and yell that "we've got to stop this killing." However, on any given day in America, more than 3,000 children are killed from abortions and the liberals have no problems with that because for them, it's not an issue. I suppose the only way liberals would consider stopping abortions would be if the fetus was shot.

    • Poca J

      Don't try and explain things in a logical way. Too much for people to grasp. LOL

    • Hop'sHip

      Interesting analysis, Wire. You should explain this to the two groups who will benefit from ACA - the rich and Big Insurance. Both have spent huge sums opposing the bill.

      • Kevin McMillen

        Hop's, don't forget the other group that is benifiting.,Democrats, who benift from the votes this is buying. Forget the next generation that will have to pay for all this nonsense.

        Print more money, we can pay for everyones insurance.

        I wonder why penny candy is now dollar candy.

      • wirerowe

        Hops I think the insurers were part of the deal. they may have lobbied against the bill early on. But this gives them more clients, mandates more coverage for some of those that already had insurance. It has to grow their business. Finally there is a provision that bails them out if the numbers of the young healthy are not enough to offset the older folks with preexisting conditions. My thoughts the insurers only turn against it if Congress somehow cuts off the bail out. The Rich benefit in that the middle income is paying for some of this outside of the tax system by be required to buy insurance when they don't want to and being required to buy coverages, increase premiums and increase deductibles to buy or subsidize someone else's coverage. The law could have paid everything out of taxes and as you would say the wealthy would have had to pay more of their "fair " sahre.

        • Aaron

          An excellent article, which of course was not heeded.

        • Hop'sHip

          Wire: You do realize that this same CBO report estimates that this risk corridor program will actually result in a net inflow FROM the insurers TO the government? And that Bush's Medicare D law included a similar provision?

          • Aaron

            For me, the fix is simple. Congress must either fund the bill as it was signed into law or do not fund it at all. Part of revenue for this boondoggle was taxes from both company and individual mandates. Taxpayers should not be required subsidize either simply because enforcing the law by making both pay the fair tax that originated from the bill has become politically unpopular.

          • The bookman


            I would say Allah, but I've already stated I'm not into conspiracy theories. So I would suggest the "who is going to stop me" section of the Constitution." Article IV I think. Now before you go and check, it's a joke! Have a good weekend, gooooo eeeers! Beat Kansas!

          • Aaron

            I'm curious, by what authority does the President derive the ability to alter public law?

          • The bookman


            I'm not a conspiracy type of person, and don't know at this point what was intended. But my point was that we will soon know based on what tack the government takes. If they continue to make fixes, then they never intended it to collapse. If they get to a break point and throw up their hands, then we know that's what they wanted. I am of the opinion that the day the SCOTUS allowed its implementation, the die was cast for nationalized health care. Too big to ever turn this elephant around.

          • Jason412


            I don't know how factual the information is but Fox News was reporting this morning around 10am that now Obama is saying he may allow all the canceled policies to be reinstated for another 3 years, until after the 2016 election.

            If that ends up being the case, then I don't think it was intended to collapse the private market. Time will tell I suppose.

            I do think flip-flopping back and forth on the policy is about the worst possible way to handle it.

          • The bookman

            The insurers schizophrenia is a result of balancing risk and increased customers and overall revenue. ACA places the mandate on coverage, and levies a fine to those who do not gain coverage. The problem for insurers is that the fine will be levied on the young and healthy and the risk will be high as the pre-existing condition uninsured has run forward to sign up. The insurers' concerns have been realized as this act has been implemented. The economic facts of life dictate that when the insurers take the profit hit, one of two things will happen. They will fold up their table and leave the market, or they will gain the necessary healthy customers they were promised from more stringent and punitive policies from the Federal Government regarding the individual mandate to participate.

            At that point we will see whether the intent of ACA was legitimate or structured to collapse the private health insurance marketplace leaving a nationalized option our only option.

          • Wirerowe

            Good point but I stand by my opinion that the insurers are net beneficiaries under the law and were at the table when the deal was done

    • Steve

      That was an excellent summary. It is very concise and succinct.

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, I've said all along that ObamaCare was a law with good intentions that will have bad unintended consequences to it. Seems now the CBO has hit upon one of those, the disincentive for individuals to find meaningful employment.

    Just wait until the full effect of the ACA takes effect for businesses. We'll see a lot of companies of all sizes reducing their employee's hours under 30 hours a week so they can avoid paying for group health insurance. This action will put even more strain on the Federal subsidized ObamaCare system, thus costing the government even MORE money it doesn't have to pay for it.

    Another problem that has disrupted the system is the fact that younger, healthier people have NOT flocked to the insurance exchanges in mass like they were supposed to. Most seem to be choosing to 'pay the penalty' for lack of health insurance (which is a joke) rather than sign up for ObamaCare. This is yet another miscalculation by the authors of the ACA that will, in the end, drive health insurance premiums even higher for those who do have it. I can still remember the President's 'promise' that under HIS plan, our health insurance premiums would go down. Seriously, has anyone's health insurance premiums DECREASED since the ACA was signed into law?

    Oh well. Will ObamaCare be destined to become the biggest Federal mistake since Prohibition? Time will tell but with more of these 'unintended consequences' rising to the surface, it could very well be America's worst failure.

  • TD

    Both sides are making legitimate points Hoppy but ONCE AGAIN you don't understand the PROBLEM. The problem is that our healthcare cost TWICE what the average first world nation's does.

    If you only look at one thing I ever post I ask everyone to look at this chart,

    You will see a direct relation with healthcare spending and life expectancy except for the outlier, the USA. Fact is more than 20 nations have a life expectancy longer than ours with many of those countries paying half or less than we do.

    The problem is our costs, I wish you would address that issue as often as you attack Obamacare.

    • Wirerowe

      Td nothing on balance about the affordable care act lowers health care cost By design the act would have increased utilization of health care. It is simple supply and demand if society uses more health care then health care costs increase. There is evidence that it may actually raise costs as studies have indicated that new Medicaid patients still use emergency rooms more than the cheaper doc in the boxes for primary care.The bulk of our health care costs are in long term illnesses or.huge end of life costs. It would help if you would present solutions to how you reduce those costs.

      • TD

        Wirewoe, since you ask for solutions I will tell of a terrific plan Bernie Sanders floated a couple years ago. Drugs are cheap, some of these wonder cancer drugs for example cost pennies to manufacture but sell for a thousand plus per month.

        The proposal is for the gov't to buy up patents and to create a "finders fee" for new drugs. This fee would come from a new tax on the healthcare insurance industry which they should be glad to pay as their cost for prescription medicine will go down 80%. We take half of that savings to create the finders fee, which is actually more money than is currently spent on research and what you would have are laboratories searching for new medicines.
        The research would have to be approved so you eliminate copycat drugs and eliminate minor tweaks to drugs that result in new patents. For example Claritin became Claritin Clear when the first patent expired. You eliminate the moral dilemma of spending thousands on the very elderly for new drug treatments, etc...

        The savings alone would sustain Medicare forever, and that's just one simple idea that could turn this whole healthcare disaster around. If we don't turn it around it is going to bankrupt this country.

        • Aaron

          What do you do if the pharmaceuticals decide that the money in the finders fee doesn't generate enough revenue to continue their research? Who does it then?

  • Ima Liberal

    OBAMA won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz My.friends all drive Porsches I, must make amends.
    Obama won't you give me a cell phone for free-- We Don't need no education I have you for free so I'll just lay around the shack 'till the mail train comes back and roll my own

  • jeepster

    Nice piece,Hoppy! You are right on the mark!

  • The Prophecy Lives

    Obama and Obamacare are to the U.S. Economy as the Israelites and their trumpets were to the Walls of Jericho.

    On our present course, it looks as if “EVIL” might win this thing after all.

    You say you'll change the constitution
    Well you know
    We all want to change your head

  • Medman

    It is almost unbelievable for this Administration to be preaching to us about the income inequality and blaming the system that impedes the folks from rising to middle class income status. Then they tell us that giving those same people incentives to stay on Medicaid or limit work hours to get a government subsidy is good.

  • Break

    As tiring as it is reading about Obamacare, it is a welcome break from the constant repeating of everything that has been said about the water woes.


    Why work?

    Under Obama everything is "Free."

    • jeepster

      amen,West Virginian !