The Federal Reserve headquarters stands in Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

As key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take effect next year, economists will be looking at more than just how it influences costs.

The law forces uninsured people to either buy insurance or pay additional taxes, and for some, individual rates will no doubt rise. Critics have wondered aloud whether PPACA will reduce employee work hours, drain earnings, or if it will cause fast-growing small businesses to slam the brakes on hiring as they near the threshold 50th full-time employee.

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