Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Yes, Obamacare is working: more time for the kids

How many people have you known who have delayed retirement or stayed in an awful job years longer than they hoped to because they couldn't trust they could get health insurance if they left? In how many families are parents caring for young kids but neither parent can shift to part-time, not only because of needing the income, but also because any cut back would screw up their health coverage? If you are like me, many!

Well, there is beginning to be evidence that the "job lock" created by our strange national practice of tying insurance to employment (other countries don't do this) is weakening as we get used to Obamacare.

Thanks to the economic recovery, the percentage of workers forced involuntarily into part-time jobs is falling. But, concurrently, the number in voluntary part-time work is rising. Economist Dean Baker explained at Mother Jones:

... voluntary part-time employment ... is up by 5.7 percent in the first four months of 2015 compared to 2013. This corresponds to more than 1 million people who have chosen to work part-time. We did some analysis of who these people were and found that it was overwhelmingly a story of young parents working part-time.

There was little change or an actual decline in the percentage of workers over the age of 35 who were working part-time voluntarily. There was a modest increase in the percentage of workers under age 35, without children, working part-time voluntarily. There was a 10.2 percent increase in the share of workers under the age of 35, with one to two kids, working part-time. For young workers with three of more kids the increase was 15.4 percent.

Based on these findings it appears that Obamacare has allowed many young parents the opportunity to work at part-time jobs so that they could spend more time with their kids. ...

Baker says there is not enough evidence yet to tell whether Obamacare is enabling early retirement or more self-employment. But the signs are good ... even if the media neglect to tell you.

H/t Joan McCarter at DailyKos.

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