Nationwide, we estimate the ACA-inspired practice of keeping payrolls below 50 has cost roughly 250,000 jobs. This does not count jobs lost when businesses close (we didn’t survey closed businesses) or shrink because of other ACA incentives.
The tally of lost jobs is bound to grow because the penalty itself automatically grows and the IRS is still learning how to enforce it. And the businesses we surveyed disproportionately say that they reduce hiring and hours for new employees rather than existing employees. They may continue to shrink until their payrolls are fully turned over.
Does the ACA at least spur small business to offer coverage? About a third of those now offering coverage began doing so after the ACA was passed. But two-thirds of those now not offering coverage previously did offer it. Some of the managers said the exchanges are a new option and that offering coverage at work would render employees and their families ineligible for taxpayer assistance.