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CBO: Devastating Obamacare Facts

ObamaCare IRS Cost CompassionThen Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said at the time of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) that we had to pass it to find out what’s in it. At that time many public policy experts, myself included, warned that ObamaCare would be add to the deficit and national debt, that it would destroy jobs, that many Americans wouldn’t be able to keep their doctor or their insurance plan, that it would reduce incentives to work and that it would needlessly harm the overall quality of healthcare. The most recent CBO report substantiates our warnings and it proves the folly of heeding Pelosi’s advice to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. Next time, read the bill. Each of its harmful impacts was entirely predictable to anyone who read it. 

by Sean Davis

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its latest analysis of the country’s economic and budget outlook, and it’s a doozy. (Remember, this is the same CBO that the President quoted extensively when he thought it suited his purposes.) If you’re a Denver Broncos fan who watched in horror as your team disintegrated during the Super Bowl on Sunday, then you’ll have some idea of how Obamacare’s proponents will feel as they read this report.

Yes, it’s that bad.

It’s so bad that there’s even a report section entitled, “How Much Will the ACA Reduce Employment in the Longer Term?” (Spoiler alert: a lot). As predicted by its conservative opponents, Obamacare has indeed destroyed jobs, increased spending, and made health care less accessible.

Here are 5 facts from CBO’s report that illustrate how the law’s effects bear no resemblance whatsoever to its namesake’s promises.

1) Obamacare Will Destroy 2.5 Million Jobs By 2024

 From the report:

The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents 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. Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA.

Back in 2011, CBO guessed the law would only kill 800,000 jobs. Oops! But what’s a couple million jobs between friends, right?

2) In 2024, There Will Still Be 31 Million People In The U.S. Without Health Insurance

Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, its top proponents – including the president himself — made a big deal about how the law would solve the problem of the uninsured. And during a September 2009 speech on the topic before a joint session of Congress, President Obama lamented that “there are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”

Surely that number will be lower more than a decade after the law’s passage right?

Still, according to estimates by CBO and JCT, about 31 million nonelderly residents of the United States are likely to be without health insurance in 2024, roughly one out of every nine such residents.

Oops again.

3) Surprise! Millions Of People Who Liked Their Health Plan Will Lose Their Health Plan

There’s a reason even PolitiFact was forced to acknowledge that the president’s “if you like your health care plan” promise was a total lie. From the CBO report:

CBO and JCT project that, as a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA.

So many oopses.

4) Obamacare Reduces The Incentive To Find And Keep A Job

Yes, Virginia, incentives matter:

[R]educed incentives to work attributable to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—with most of the impact arising from new subsidies for health insurance purchased through exchanges—will have a larger negative effect on participation toward the end of that period.


By providing subsidies that decline with rising income (and increase with falling income) and by making some people financially better off, the ACA will create an incentive for some people to work less.


[M]ore than 2.5 million people are likely to reduce the amount of labor they choose to supply to some degree because of the ACA, even though many of them will not leave the labor force entirely.

5) Your Paycheck Will Be Smaller Thanks To Obamacare

If it walks like a tax increase, and talks like a tax increase, it’s probably a tax increase, even if the people who voted for the tax increase promised it wasn’t a tax increase:

In addition, beginning in 2018, the ACA imposes an excise tax on certain high-cost health insurance plans. CBO expects that the burden of that tax will, over time, be borne primarily by workers in the form of smaller after-tax compensation. Some firms may seek to avoid or limit the amount of the excise tax they pay by switching to less expensive health plans, and in that case workers’ wages should rise by a corresponding amount. Those wages will be subject to income and payroll taxes, however, so total tax payments by those workers will be higher than they would have been in the absence of the ACA. After-tax compensation will thus fall whether firms pay the excise tax or take steps to avoid it, and the resulting increases in average and marginal tax rates will cause a slight decline in the supply of labor, CBO estimates.

But other than that (and the doc shock, and the premium shock, and the broken website), the law is doing totally awesome, you guys.

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Sean Davis is a co-founder of The Federalist and also serves as COO of Media Trackers, a non-profit government watchdog. He previously worked as an economic policy adviser to Gov. Rick Perry, as CFO of Daily Caller, and as chief investigator for Sen. Tom Coburn.

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