A decline in employment resulting from Obamacare means more choice, entrepreneurship and will result in a more "dynamic" jobs market, a chief White House economist said. He further said fewer people will choose to work because of Obamacare, the same as fewer senior citizens choose to work because of Social Security and Medicare.
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, about the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report and the Affordable Care Act. The federal deficit is likely to continue its slide to a lower-than-expected $514 billion for 2014, the nonpartisan CBO reported Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, stressed that the Congressional Budget Office prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that 2.5 million people will leave the work force by 2024 as a result of the Affordable Care Act is a positive thing.
“This is a choice on a part of workers,” Furman told reporters Tuesday. “I have no doubt, if for example, we got rid of Social Security, and Medicare, there are many 95-year-olds who would choose to work more to avoid potentially starving or to give themselves the opportunity to get health care, I don't think anyone would say that's a compelling argument to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.”
The Obamacare law provides insurance subsidies and expands Medicaid allowing people to avoid “joblock,” or working somewhere just to maintain health insurance, Furman said.
“Similarly, here, CBOs analysis itself is about the choices that workers are making in the face of new options available to them by the Affordable Care Act, not something that about firms destroying jobs,” Furman said.
One reporter later asked, “Doesn't that incentivize some people to do less because all of a sudden there is an incentive to do less because if there salary is less they still get a government subsidy and benefit?”
“First of all, for many people, this potentially an incentive to do more,” he responded. “An incentive for more entrepreneurship because they're not locked into a job, there's an incentive for employers to hire more people because the cost of health care is lower.”
Furman added, “The Affordable Care Act essentially solves that and creates a situation where you can be more dynamic.”
The reporter followed, “Or be less dynamic because if you do less you can have a lower salary?”
Furman said, “The basic premise here is that people have more choices in the same way Social Security and Medicare give people more choices than they would have today.”