Jamaal is in his late fifties. He has qualified for a full pension from his union plus he has some money squirreled away in savings and a 401(K). If he retired tomorrow, he would be able to get an inflation protected full life annuity that would replace 70% of his current income and as soon as he is Social Security eligible, his income replacement would be in the mid-80s. He has three young grandkids, an interest in making furniture and a medical history that scares away insurance companies after they see the first page. He works and continues to damage his knees and his back for the health insurance. If he could get affordable health insurance that could bridge the gap between retirement and Medicare, retiring to be a full time granddad and a part time cabinet maker looks really good. PPACA allows him to get out of the labor market a year or two earlier than he thought he otherwise would have.
Sally works as a receptionist at a local theatre company. Her husband makes most of the money in the family as a highly skilled roadie for a variety of not quite indy bands. She works for the health insurance. The theatre pays 90% of the cost to cover her, but she has to pay the full cost of covering her husband. Covering her husband is basically half of her post-tax pay per month. She would like to have kids, she would like to go back to school but they can’t afford to go naked. PPACA allows her to get out of the labor market for a couple of years to go finsih her degree and have a kid while spending the equivilent of a week of her former salary a month for family coverage.
Bob lives in a Medicaid expansion state. He has two young kids. The older kid is going to kindergarten next fall and the younger one will be in kindergarten in 2016. His girlfriend is working full time as a shift leader at McDonalds and he works fifteen hours a week as a security guard. He recently qualified for Medicaid, the kids were always covered by CHIP, and his girlfriend is on a cost-sharing assistance Silver plan. The family is doing well enough right now, so when his boss offers him another 15 hours a week and the ability to get on the Bronze level plan at work, he declines as he would rather stay home and raise the kids.
These are the types of decisions the CBO project will occur for millions of Americans over the next decade. Some people will opt out of the labor force because they are not tied to their health insurance any more and they have better things to do with their time and money then work. Some people will not enter the labor force because they no longer have to work for insurance. Some people will voluntarily work part time because insurance is no longer just available to full timers. The summations of all of these projected decisions is two million or more people deciding to get ouf of the labor pool over the next decade.