ACA coverage substantial, but did not impact labor markets
(HealthDay)—Millions of workers gained insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without adverse effects on labor markets, according to a report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.
Using American Community Survey and Current Population Survey data, Anuj Gangopadhyaya, Ph.D., from the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., and colleagues assessed whether coverage gains under the ACA from 2010 to 2016 were associated with changes in labor market outcomes across occupations.
The researchers found that occupations that experienced greater coverage gains under the ACA were not more likely to experience adverse labor market consequences. About 10.6 million workers were added to the workforce between 2010 and 2016, an 8 percent increase, after adjusting for changes in demographics. Gains were seen for nearly all occupations. Overall, workers' coverage rates increased from 81.6 to 89.4 percent, with the largest gains occurring among occupations with the lowest coverage rates in 2010. Due to the ACA, 11 million more workers had coverage in 2016, with 85 percent of these workers gaining coverage through nonemployer sources such as individual Marketplace plans or Medicaid. There were no associations between changes in worker coverage rates within an occupation and changes in employment levels, the number of hours worked, or weekly earnings over this period.
"Widely cited predictions that the coverage provisions of the ACA would lead to reduced employment and work hours did not materialize, nor did predictions that employer-based coverage rates would fall as employers dropped coverage," the authors write.
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