Friday, February 07, 2014

Lies, Lies, Lies and More Lies

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (R) and other Americans the White House says will benefit from the opening of health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, in the Rose Garden
The right wing is slathering over headlines like this:
CBO: Obamacare killing 2 million jobs...
But, as usual, that ignores what the CBO really says. The new report [pdf] does say that yes, by 2024 the law will reduce full-time employment by 2 million. But that's not 2 million jobs killed. In fact, the CBO actually confirms one of the things supporters of the new law said it would do: provide people who can't or don't want to work full time, who want to quit their jobs to stay at home with their children or to start a new business, the freedom to do just that. Right there in the report on page 117 (yes, that's a lot of pages for conservatives to read) it says:
"The estimated reduction [in CBO's projections of hours worked] stems almost entirelyfrom a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply rather than a net drop in businesses demand for labor. [...]"
The CBO is not assuming that the law will lead employers to eliminate jobs or reduce hours, and actually says that there is "no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA." It also says this:
The ACA's subsidies for health insurance will both stimulate demand for health care services and allow low-income households to redirect some of the funds that they would have spent on that care toward the purchase of other goods and services—thereby increasing overall demand. That increase in overall demand while the economy remains somewhat weak will induce some employers to hire more workers or to increase the hours of current employees during that period.
Okay, so that's debunked. Now about that "insurance company bailout" that the Republicans have tossed around as their ransom for taking the debt ceiling hostage. A reminder, the "bailout" is actually something called "risk corridors," a stability mechanism that pools money from insurers that have profits in the first few years of the law to make up the difference for other insurers who end up taking on more expensive customers. That stabilizes the markets and helps keep premiums lower. It also, CBO says, cuts the deficit: "CBO now projects that, over the 2015–2024 period, risk corridor payments from the federal government to health insurers will total $8 billion and the corresponding collections from insurers will amount to $16 billion,yielding net savings for the federal government of $8 billion." So much for that.



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