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Reduced work hours involved with ACA are voluntary


Thank you, Mr. Gingerella, for your Feb. 10 personal invitation to comment on the Affordable Care Act’s impact (“Are ACA supporters embarrassed about its flaws?”, Letters to the Editor), and I appreciate your attempt to add humor to an otherwise dry subject.

Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume you’ve been duped by mindlessly regurgitating the tea party’s party line that the Affordable Care Act “cost America 2.5 million full-time jobs.” Reality coming at you on the Affordable Care Act’s employment impact, so listen carefully: It was always clear that the Act will induce some Americans to work less for three reasons: 1) Earlier retirements, because some no longer need to keep working to retain health insurance. 2) Reduced working hours — some will choose to spend more time with family since insurance is no longer dependent on full-time employment. 3) More subtly, the incentive to work is marginally reduced since health insurance subsidies fall as your income rises.

From drawing board to real world, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office underestimated this impact and now believes that health care reform will reduce the number of hours worked by 1.5 to 2 percent, which actually is a good thing. Why? It’s all voluntary, even if it gives an opportunity to simplistic reactionaries committed to its failure to distort and misinterpret the findings, providing fodder for the tea party crowd that is fundamentally against anything that has a government label attached to it that might try to help people.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Affordable Care Act. I believe good health is something you have to work at, maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet of fruits and vegetables, leaving our non-human animal friends alone, and daily exercise.

But many Americans do not share my philosophy. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight (per the Food Research and Action Center), and 18 percent of American adults smoke cigarettes (per the National Center for Health Statistics), which means to me that these people don’t take their health seriously, so why should we?

But regardless of your personal philosophy, the Act’s employment impact is unquestionably a positive thing. It allows more people to live the life they choose and not the life they feel they must. No, millions of Americans will not lose their jobs, but tens of millions will gain the security of knowing that they can get and afford the health care they might need.

Jay Lustgarten

Westerly



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