Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been all over the news in the past week, often railing against the Affordable Care Act, “every word” of which he is still vowing to repeal. One of Cruz’s oft-repeated lines of attack is a version of this phrase, spoken in a recent interview with ABC News:
“Millions of people have lost their jobs, lost their health care, been forced into part-time work.”
Now Cruz is an attorney, and the phrasing here is not accidental. It’s impossible to ferret out exactly what he means here when he talks about “millions.” Is it the sum total of all the people affected? Have millions lost their jobs, millions lost their health care, and millions been forced into part-time work? Cruz isn’t saying, and it’s really not clear how one could prove or disprove the statement about job losses and health care. When people file initial jobless claims, there’s no box to check that says “job lost due to Obamacare.”
Similarly, it’s tough to figure out what it means to have lost your health coverage due to the ACA. If your policy was canceled because it didn’t meet the new federal standards, but you were able to buy one on the federal exchange for a similar price, can you still be said to have “lost your coverage” due to Obamacare? Again, Cruz isn’t saying.
But on the question of people being forced into part-time work, the Bureau of Labor statistics produces some numbers that can be helpful.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
If significant numbers of Americans are being forced into part-time work by employers looking to avoid providing health coverage, it seems pretty clear that there ought to have been a spike in the number of part-time workers in the U.S.
But there hasn’t been. For the past 13 months, the number of Americans working part-time has averaged 27.6 million, and over that time period has never varied from that average by more than 1.5 percent. If the Affordable Care Act is forcing lots of people into part-time work, it must be happening in some other country.
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