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Opening Arguments

The train wreck, she is here

The Congressional Budget Office makes plain what we all knew about Obamacare:

Now the CBO is saying is that in 10 years, about the same number of people will lack insurance as before. This, after new expenditures of as much as $2 trillion and a colossal disruption of the US medical system.

If that’s not startling enough, there’s also the telling projection about ObamaCare’s impact on employment — “a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”

And this is the response from the White House:

The White House hastened to do damage control yesterday, and the “senior official” who did the background briefing for reporters said a shocking thing: The projected decline in work is good news.

“It reflects the fact that workers have a new set of options and are making the best choices that they can choose to make for themselves given those options,” the official said.

Got that? Spending $2 trillion to no effect and throwing millions of full-time workers under the part-time bus is a good thing. Like Nancy Pelosi said, we'll have an economy full of people able to get health care while pursuing their creative dreams. Their choices, but we get the bill.

I swear you can't make this stuff up. I have written that it became impossible to parody TV when it started doing it itself with "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island." I think we're at that beyond-parody point for massive government programs the perpetrators have to defend with such weasely words that they know can't be believed even as they say them.











Fri, 02/07/2014 - 3:20pm

Don't be so lazy Leo and read the whole report.

On Wednesday, Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said the obvious: losing your job and choosing to work less aren’t the same thing. If you lose your job, you suffer immense personal and financial hardship. If, on the other hand, you choose to work less and spend more time with your family, “we don’t sympathize. We say congratulations.”

And now you know everything you need to know about the latest GOP falsehood in the ever-mendacious campaign against health reform.

 It has always been clear that health reform will induce some Americans to work less. Some people will, for example, retire earlier because they no longer need to keep working to keep their health insurance. Others will reduce their hours to spend more time with their children because insurance is no longer contingent on holding a full-time job. More subtly, the incentive to work will be somewhat reduced by health insurance subsidies that fall as your income rises.

The budget office has now increased its estimate of the size of these effects. It believes that health reform will reduce the number of hours worked in the economy by between 1.5 percent and 2 percent, which it  noted “represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million.”

 But, as expected GOP politicians and, I’m sorry to say, all too many news organizations such as the News Sentinal (Leo) have grabbed at the 2 million number and utterly misrepresented its meaning. For example, Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, posted on his Twitter account: “Under Obamacare, millions of hardworking Americans will lose their jobs and those who keep them will see their hours and wages reduced.”

So was Mr. Cantor being dishonest? Or was he just ignorant of the policy basics and unwilling to actually read the report before trumpeting his misrepresentation of what it said? It doesn’t matter — because even if it was ignorance, it was willful ignorance. Remember, the campaign against health reform has, at every stage, grabbed hold of any and every argument it could find against insuring the uninsured, with truth and logic never entering into the matter.

Think about it. We had Michelle Bachmann screeching on about nonexistent death panels. We had false claims from the GOP budget guru Paul Ryan claiming that the Affordable Care Act will cause the deficit to balloon even though the same CBO that Cantor cherry picks data from says it won't. We had supposed horror stories about ordinary Americans facing huge rate increases, stories that collapse under scrutiny. Remember "'Bette in Spokane" mentioned in the GOP response to the SOTU address who claimed her premiums increases $700 a month?  Turns outher old plan was catastrophic coverage only with a $10,000 deductable - and the "$700 a month more" was the most expensive plan offered by her insurer. She admittedly didn't go the the heathcare.gov website where she could have found cheaper plans. And now we have a fairly innocuous technical estimate misrepresented as a tale of massive economic damage.

Not a word of this claim was true. The budget office report didn’t say that people will lose their jobs. It declared explicitly that the predicted fall in hours worked will come “almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor” (emphasis added). And as I've already mentioned, Mr. Elmendorf did his best the next day to explain that voluntary reductions in work hours are nothing like involuntary job loss. Oh, and because labor supply will be reduced, wages will go up, not down.

I should add that the budget office believes that health reform will actually reduce unemployment over the next few years. I'm a little dissapointed in you Leo, just repeating what you heard rather than do the research before the article and parroting the party line.  Not gonna go Rush on us are you?

Sun, 02/09/2014 - 11:07pm

So, by 2017, 2 million doctors are going be spending more time on the golf courses or with their families?  That will lower health care costs.  I don't blame them for making the choice.