Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Obamcare lie starting to get smacked down outside the bubble

It's been interesting reading the online reactions the day after the CBO report on the deficit and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) came out. This report indicated that Obamacare will lead to an estimated 2 million Americans opting out of the work force in the next 3 years, and when the report originally came out, Republicans tried to jump all over it, claiming it "proved" Obamacare was a job-killer. Not surprisingly, the lame-os in the D.C. media went along with it.

Just as predictably, grandstanding GOPs tried to get CBO director Douglas Elmendorf to say "Obamacare costs jobs" at a Budget Committee hearing today, but it didn't go quite as planned for the Repubs.
On page 124, the report estimates that the ACA will “boost overall demand for goods and services over the next few years because the people who will benefit from the expansion of Medicaid and from access to the exchange subsidies are predominantly in lower-income households and thus are likely to spend a considerable fraction of their additional resources on goods and services.” This, the report says, “will in turn boost demand for labor over the next few years.”

“When you boost demand for labor in this kind of economy, you actually reduce the unemployment rate, because those people who are looking for work can find more work, right?” [Dem Rep. Chris] Van Hollen asked Elmendorf.

“Yes, that’s right,” Elmendorf said.

Elmendorf added that the factor Van Hollen had identified was something CBO thinks “spurs employment and would reduce unemployment over the next few years.”
And Van Hollen and Elmendorf aren't the only ones to note the positives in that CBO report, and the meme might be turning already. Check out this segment from Chris Hayes' MSNBC show yesterday. He not only shreds imbecilic Sen. Marco Rubio for claiming Obamacare is a fiscal drag (it actually REDUCES the deficit in coming years), but then he discusses the "people leaving the work force" talking point with Business Insider's Josh Barro. The stuff on the work force effect starts around 4:30, and it's good, wonky stuff that's on an understandable level.

That's how this is going to work in the real world, and the last point about how this gives some power to the worker over the employer is a big one- you can't use "health care" as a reason a worker needs to stay at your job, because they could now get covered through the exchanges or expanded Medicaid (if you're in a place lucky enough to take expanded Medicaid). THAT'S the real reason why the Kochs are trying to fight this so badly.

And it's why Koch puppets in Congress that continue to live in the right-wing bubble refuse acknowledge that the CBO report shows that Obamacare is a net benefit for many Americans, and probably the economy as a whole. Exhibit A of that type of Congressman, U.S. Sen. (mo)Ron Johnson. I'll have the reality in italics.
“Sadly, yesterday, we receive further proof of the true harm done to our country by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). (Go on....) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report on the budget (link here) that shows PPACA is expected to lower wages and depress the incentive for individuals to look for higher wages. (Actually, it's the complete opposite- it raises wages) CBO’s analysis should put to rest any doubt left among the proponents of this law that it is harmful. (The real world already doubts that your conclusion, Ron) The people of Wisconsin are already seeing their insurance cost skyrocket, losing access to their doctors, and losing the health plans they liked. (For the few Wisconsinites this may be true for, that's on Gov. Walker and the Wisconsin GOP Legislature for not setting up our own exchange and expanding Medicaid.) This report is additional proof that the law damages every component of our economy. (Not even close)

“It is unconscionable that the Democrats who passed this bill and the President who signed it into law would let this debacle continue. We must act responsibly to repair the damage caused by the law and limit and prevent future damage. (Yes, not forcing people to work till they drop and grab higher wages is such a calamity! How will we ever survive?) It goes beyond callous to stand idly by while people are losing their livelihoods and having their health put at risk.” (Name one.)
And outside of (mo)Ron Johnson's right-wing bubble is Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald, who ended his article today by stating
Is the CBO correct? Who knows? As with any predictions, these estimates are based on economic models and assumptions, and those can be wrong or they can change. But the CBO certainly has not provided any serious new information that can be used by the critics of Obamacare. So, when politicians and commentators say that the new CBO report is devastating proof of the terrible impact of Obamacare, just know this: they’re lying.

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