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Report: Employment May Shrink Because of Health Care Law

FILE - A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the website in New York in this photo illustration.
A report by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office predicts the new health care reform law will shrink the work force by more than 2 million full-time positions.

The report, released Tuesday, may fuel the debate over whether the health care reform law known as "Obamacare" is good for the economy. The CBO report said if people's health care plans are not tied to their employment status, fewer will choose to work and some who keep working may choose to work fewer hours. The predicted reduction in hours adds up to about 2.5 million fewer full-time positions by 2024.

Critics of Obamacare, including many Republicans, say the findings show that the plan will ultimately have an adverse effect on the economy. The White House is defending Obamacare, and said the report has not presented evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the health care act being implemented late last year.

The report also said that the long-term effects of the health care reforms are still unclear. It said that over time, more people are expected to take advantage of the new coverage options, so enrollment is expected to increase sharply in 2015 and 2016.