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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Iraq from his vacation home at Martha U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Iraq from his vacation home at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts August 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  

Philly Fed: Obamacare’s Increasing Part-Time Work

Some businesses are already cutting full-time employees in favor of part-time workers due to increasing Obamacare costs, according to a Thursday survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Eighteen percent of businesses surveyed by the Philadelphia Fed said that the number of workers they employ is lower due to the Affordable Care Act; just three percent said they employ more. And a comparable 18 percent said that the number of part-time workers they’ve hired has gone up as a result of Obamacare.

Critics have long feared that Obamacare’s employer mandate, which has been delayed several times, would lead employers to limit hiring or even fire workers in order to avoid the requirement to provide health coverage. Increasing health care costs, in part thanks to the health-care law, maybe already be having that effect .

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a survey with similar results earlier this week. A majority of businesses in the New York Fed’s region are bracing for bigger health care costs — and in most cases, they’re passing some or all of the cost onto employees and customers through higher health insurance costs and higher prices.

Businesses in the Philadelphia area are feeling the same pressures. A slight majority of businesses said that they’d already made changes to their health care benefits, although many of Obamacare’s pressures — including its large Cadillac tax on expensive health benefits — haven’t hit yet. (RELATED: Employers Rushing To Change Health Plans Before Obamacare Tax Hits)

Among the companies that said they’ve made changes, almost all have passed on higher costs to their employees. Ninety-one percent reported changing employee health plans to include higher deductibles, while 88 percent upped how much workers have to contribute to their premium  payments and 77 percent increased out-of-pocket maximums.

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