Supporters of the Affordable Care Act rally in Miami on October 10, 2013.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Predictions are hard, especially about the future

Updated
Yogi Berra is believed to have once said, “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, Republicans can no doubt relate to the sentiment.
 
Clearly, recent website problems have become a big story, and understandably so, but Republicans can’t exactly claim this as an I-told-you-so moment. For one thing, they never predicted website glitches. For another, the glitches will be fixed and aren’t related to the underlying system.
 
But it’s when we look at the GOP’s actual predictions that conservative critics run into trouble.
 
For example, Jonathan Chait recently noted that “Obamacare” critics spent three years insisting that premiums in the state health exchanges would cost consumers more money, and that optimistic projections were folly. The opposite turned out to be true. Republicans have responded to questions about their erroneous predictions by changing the subject.
 
Similarly, the right was certain that the Affordable Care Act would hurt the economy, in part by undermining full-time employment and forcing more workers into part-time jobs. Oops.
First of all, over a longer time frame, part-time work has actually been falling as a share of employment in recent years…. If the health law were driving employers to cut employees’ hours, the most vulnerable workers would likely be those working just above the 30-hour cutoff. That means the data would show a decline in those working 30 to 34 hours and an increase in those working less than 30 hours.
 
That isn’t what’s happening. The share of part-timers who say they usually work between 30 and 34 hours at their main job has been roughly flat over the past three years, at about 28%. (September data aren’t yet available.) If anything, it’s actually risen in the past year, though the change has been minor. The share working just under 30 hours has indeed risen somewhat, but the share working under 25 hours has fallen – suggesting that employers are giving part-timers more hours, rather than cutting full-timers’ hours back.
 
Put another way: If the Labor Department used the same definition of “part-time” as the health law, its data would show no increase in part-time work over the past year.
 So, is there any evidence to support the Republicans arguments about the law leading to part-time jobs? Actually, no.
 

Affordable Care Act and Obamacare

Predictions are hard, especially about the future

Updated