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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Take This Job and Shove It: The Fruits of Obamacare

Take This Job and Shove It: The Fruits of Obamacare

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Sunday, 09 February 2014 09:17

Yes, this was one of the points of Obamacare, at least for some of us. Many people find themselves stuck in jobs they hate because they need health care insurance and can't see any other way to get it. The Washington Post tells us that some workers are recognizing their new freedom as a result of being able to buy affordable insurance on the individual market.

This is great news in my book, but I see from the article that my friend Douglas Holtz-Eakin is unhappy.

Comments (17)Add Comment
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written by Fred Brack, February 09, 2014 9:21
Medicare certainly allows millions of Americans to choose to stop working without jeopardizing their health care. Does Republican logic lead them to favor ending Medicare?
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written by tom, February 09, 2014 9:51
My wife worked a job where she got really good employer sponsored health insurance. Problem was she would come home from work practically crying because she hated it so much. Her 40 hour a week job had gone to a 60-70 hour a week job with no extra compensation. I told her to quit and we would just wait for Obamacare to kick in and go without insurance. Always a risk, but why should she be so unhappy? Obamacare has kicked in and now we have some affordable insurance.

To all you right wingers out there. We are not sitting back and collecting welfare, food stamps, or any other program other than the ACA subsidy. Matter of fact, we are still paying our mortgage, electric bill, cable/internet bill, credit cards, and any other obligations we have. Do you right wingers really think people are going to just quit their jobs just for a subsidy. You know, people still need to pay rent or mortgage, pay for their electric, etc. However, people who can pay their bills and are in a job they hate, now do have a choice. You guys must not think much of y or fellow citizens.
Any article that
written by EMichael, February 09, 2014 9:56
makes Douglas Holtz-Eakin unhappy, can't be all bad.

Howls of Rage
written by Larry Signor, February 09, 2014 10:01
I can already hear the rumble of "socialism", "class warfare" and the economic buzz kill of...of... well, everything. The rabble is rising, gathering their pitchforks and clubs. No, wait, that was France. So what's wrong here? Consumers have more choices? This is the end of...everything? "Our government has the wisest men and we elect them again and again..."-Pete Seeger http://youtu.be/VucczIg98Gw
Many of us still working get some peace of mind
written by Mike B., February 09, 2014 10:23
I don't intend to quit anytime soon, but it's nice to know that I now could (I think). Also, I don't need to worry about losing my job. Also, as far as this being "other people's money," I have paid taxes for decades, not all of which benefited me, and one of the reasons health care is so expensive is government policies giving money to these other people. So I wouldn't feel bad about taking the subsidies.
A pay raise for a worker could also be viewed as encouraging people to quit their jobs
written by John Wright, February 09, 2014 10:54
The article has:

"Conservatives say that the CBO numbers prove that the health-care law will be a drag on the economy. Moreover, they say, it makes no sense to give people subsidies to encourage them to quit their jobs."

Let us consider the case in which a person nearing retirement is given a pay raise. This increase in pay might allow them to save some more for an earlier retirement, in effect, encouraging them to quit their job earlier than planned.

One could suggest conservatives should not like this pay raise "quit their job" incentive either. Perhaps conservatives need to legislate to prohibit pay raises for people nearing retirement age to lessen early quitting?

And in periods of high unemployment, encouraging people to quit their jobs could make a great deal of sense to out of work people looking for jobs. Didn't we recently see the media stories describing the Boomers hanging on to their jobs rather than opening the positions to younger workers?
Take This Job and Shove It to Someone Who Wants It
written by Last Mover, February 09, 2014 11:17

Seriously, why aren't the delusionals celebrating the "loss" of 2.5M jobs? The ACA job loss lie (read "loss of production potential from the supply side") comes from the same delusionals who also rant that government "crowds out jobs".

Now that the ACA has given them their wish and uncrowded out 2.5M job slots to free them up for taking by others in the private sector, why aren't they celebrating?

Of course legitimate "crowding or uncrowding out" requires here, voluntary quits or reduction in hours rather than employers hiring less or forcing out existing employees combined with a tight labor market which doesn't exist anyway.

The delusionals also don't get the role of "subsidies"
that drive disproportionately the voluntary incentives of lowest income workers to work less.

Never forget most of the "subsidies" exist because of obscene high prices for health care loaded with unearned monopoly profit that adds no value. In this context the "subsidies" act to reduce prices to true economic cost that should exist under efficient single payer anyway, so who's taking from who here?

Taken together, the 2.5M, especially those with the highest subsidies, represent a microcosm of what the rest of the country would do if it had access to single payer prices with competing multiple providers everywhere.

Let's give the delusionals a pass on this one shall we? In their eager blindness to see what's not there, they have come full circle to discredit their own claims. Even as they slur the low income class for behaving exactly as the economic predator class does when it comes to making choices to be better off - with one exception.

When low income class workers give up overpriced health care from an employer and work less as well, in contrast to economic predators, they are not taking added value from anyone.
...
written by PeonInChief, February 09, 2014 12:49
If the powers what be are really concerned about productive low-wage workers leaving their jobs--and weren't they low-skilled, low productivity workers a couple of weeks ago?--they can concentrate on increasing their pay and making their jobs more interesting. If you want workers to stay, PAY THEM MORE MONEY.
A Susidy Or A Raise?
written by Larry Signor, February 09, 2014 1:12
ACA subsidies are basically a pay raise for under paid workers. I think the CBO report overstates the impact on labor supply. In any sane economic model, an increase in compensation would beget an increase in supply of that commodity. What am I missing here?
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written by JDM, February 09, 2014 1:14
Well, PeonInChief, I think that's part of the rightwing worry. Part of it is just stupidity coupled with deliberate misreading. But another part is the worry that the free market will work, because if a large number of workers can afford to quit the jobs they leave will have a smaller pool of potential workers and wages will rise.

Ordinary people should applaud that, but our economics reporting has become so skewed toward the rich and the stock market* that news like this comes out as bad news instead of good.

* although the stock market has tended to go up on news that is bad for workers, I think ultimately it would go up more the more good news we had for workers, because while there is a limit to how much net earnings can be increased by cutting costs, there is virtually no limit to how much they can go up via increased sales.
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written by PeonInChief, February 09, 2014 1:33
I agree JDM, and many things like this that make the right wing worry make me smile. I have to wonder why the employer transferred an employee from a job she liked to a job she loathed, and suspect that it was because the employer could, assuming that she'd just have to eat it. And I am so pleased that she was able to walk out.
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written by watermelonpunch, February 09, 2014 3:26
said former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, now president of the American Action Forum, a conservative policy group. “What conservatives would have you ask is, is it an appropriate use of someone else’s money to put you in that position to choose?”


What I would have you ask is if it's fair or appropriate that SOME people get a portion of their wages (health insurance) tax FREE... while people like me & my spouse who have jobs that do NOT provide employer insurance... has to both pay taxes on ALL my income, while paying MORE for health care without insurance negotiated prices - or be priced out entirely OR not even have access!

People who get income tax free health insurance as wages, IMHO, have a F'n nerve talking about what's appropriate or fair about tax subsidies for obamacare.

written by John Wright, February 09, 2014 11:54
"Conservatives say that the CBO numbers prove that the health-care law will be a drag on the economy. Moreover, they say, it makes no sense to give people subsidies to encourage them to quit their jobs."

Let us consider the case in which a person nearing retirement is given a pay raise. This increase in pay might allow them to save some more for an earlier retirement, in effect, encouraging them to quit their job earlier than planned.

One could suggest conservatives should not like this pay raise "quit their job" incentive either. Perhaps conservatives need to legislate to prohibit pay raises for people nearing retirement age to lessen early quitting?


I'm sure they would love that.
As I'm quite sure the big beef here is giving anything to workers.

Clearly it's all about making sure workers are enslaved, with no options, and over a barrel at all times so those in charge of big business & companies have their pick of replaceable human beings to do their dirty work - workers who will suck it up in silent misery out of fear.

How can you interpret their displeasure with options for people in any other way?
Viewer II
written by Viewer, February 09, 2014 3:49
ACA provides more freedom for workers. Yeah Freedom... isn't that what it's all about? Don't take away our Freedom - I'm always hearing that from the Right. Well, ACA don't, it gives us more. When we don't have enough workers to meet demand --- well, those will be good days indeed. A job for everyone who wants one, yippee!!!
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written by urban legend, February 09, 2014 8:04
Supporters of the ACA have not focused enough attention on how it helps all workers to know they no longer will have to face the possibility of financial disaster from a health problem if they lose a job. That's a couple hundred beneficiaries, not just those down on their luck (who probably deserve it, and therefore are not like us!)

The fear of job loss and loss of insurance has been like a lead weight on the economy. When it all settles out and people working -- and who isn't at risk for a job loss? -- realize they no longer need to have that fear, consumer confidence will be at a much higher base level.
Isn't Freedom a Feature
written by winstongator, February 09, 2014 9:05
This is awesome that Republicans have jumped on this as a negative of Obamacare. They are nearly at the point that anything that helps an ordinary American is Red October. This feature would not be for me...today. However, it would be a huge benefit to my parents and my in-laws. I don't have to go that far into my circle of family and friends to find those that benefit from programs Republicans despise (yes, many of those in that circle are Republicans that benefit from programs their leaders work so hard against.)

Tying health insurance to a job produces an inefficiency in the labor market. Providing this back-stop should enhance the overall efficiency of the labor force - get the right people into the right jobs, mainly by letting those that aren't best suited have an option out.
Unintended consequences?
written by John Puma, February 10, 2014 1:43
I fear for the "health" of the career of the WellPoint Exec who wrote the ACA.
( http://tinyurl.com/n6plryy )

I rather doubt her corporate allies appreciate her having freed millions of wage slaves.
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written by david, February 10, 2014 1:48
I don't see "affordable" health care at the Maryland website...unless you think $500 a month is "affordable"....

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Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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