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CBO finds Obamacare frees millions from job-lock

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office confirms what many analysts and activists have long hoped for: affordable healthcare, untethered from a full time payroll job, will allow millions of Americans now shackled by company sponsored group health insurance to pursue more rewarding work and early retirement:

WaPo — “The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).”

This is good news all the way around. There are millions of baby-boomers in sight of age 65 who have lucked out in their 401-K’s, who are able to retire, but not yet eligible for Medicare. Now they can go ahead and retire or switch to a more fulfilling part-time job if they wish without worrying about unplanned medical disasters. The same availability of affordable healthcare gives millions more, younger and older alike, the final critical tool needed to stop working for someone else and start their own small business. Best of all, it reduces the supply of labor which is always beneficial to those who remain in the traditional workforce.

Naturally, zillionaire wingnuts and their corporate toadies jumped on the report, twisted the findings to claim Obamacare will cost millions of jobs, and eagerly spread that negative propaganda far and wide in a massive coordinated attack. That they were able to do that virtually unopposed really, really disgusts a lot of people like me.

The idea that corporate thugs and professional liars will distort any news, good or bad, about Obamacare is as predictable as sunrise and sunset. No one in the White House or the democratic party who knew this report was being prepared and the good news about to be released should have been caught off guard or out maneuvered. Yet here we are, again, so-called professional strategists and party leaders who are paid enormous salaries and enjoy every perk in the book counting on part-time volunteer writers and poorly paid bloggers out in the sticks to go on defense and play catch up with the mighty Fox Noise machines and Kochwhores, after they fumbled the ball and handed over possession deep in their own territory.

The President or the Vice-President or the Sec of HHS could have easily held a series of press conferences right before the report was released. The Debbie-Wasserman-Schultz’s and Chuck Shumers of the world could have been on Meet the Press or Rachel Maddow last week highlighting how cool this will be for everyone in the 99%. But not a peep, not a single email heads up that I know of to the progressive volunteer blogosphere, not until it was armed by right-wing misinformation specialists to blow up into headlines screaming that Obamacare will cost millions of Americans their jobs and the CBO proved it.

If beltway democrats and administration experts are not going to be prepared, despite all the resources at their disposal, and pull the trigger when the time is right, then how about at the very least they keep those of who are willing to fight Goliath — for, at best, pennies a day — in the information loop so we can better clean up after them? Because I for one am sick of seeing bumbling apathetic assholes getting paid six and seven figures to practice gross political negligence at my expense.

Comments

  1. tubi says

    My cousin, a Presbyterian Paulite from Mississippi (and also a doctor) has been harping about the ACA for years. He posted a link to this report last night and captioned it with a comparison between the feeling Broncos fans felt before and after the Super Bowl and the feeling liberals will have before and after reading the report as their hopes are dashed by the truth.

    I wanted to post a response like, “What’s your beef with me? I wanted [real] socialized medicine, not this subsidized private insurance crap. But I’ll take it for now. If you have problems with the ACA, bitch at the Heritage Foundation. Or Mitt Romney.”

    But I like my cousin, so I restrained myself. Thanks for providing the right perspective. I glanced at the jobs part and there was a brief blurb about it on the news this morning, but I haven’t had time to delve in yet. The right’s take didn’t pass the smell test, though.

  2. machintelligence says

    And the low information voters will never get it straightened out, because reading skills and rational thought are not their long suits.

  3. marcus says

    I knew you would have a comment on this, and a good one. I also see it a nothing but a good thing allowing job mobility or retirement and opening up opportunities for people who really want and need to work. Cue the wingnuts…

  4. jamessweet says

    I partially disagree that this is “good news all around” — my characterization would be, Not nearly as bad as it is made out to be, but certainly another argument in favor of single payer.

    It’s not just that people can choose to work fewer hours without losing their health coverage — they also, even if they WANT to work more hours, may have a strong incentive to avoid doing so, in order that their health coverage might remain affordable. It’s a similar problem that has afflicted some welfare and food stamp programs: It is not the case that an increase in hours worked results in a monotonic increase in wealth received. Which ought to be a basic criteria for any social program, i.e. the more you work, the more you get, ALWAYS.

    This is a defect of having an individual mandate with subsidies. There’s a gap where you work a little more, causing you to lose your subsidies, meaning you are actually worse off than if you worked a little less — you have to earn a LOT more to make it worth it.

    The defect could be patched, at the cost of making the subsidies more complicated (i.e. a smoothly sliding scale, so that subsidies received never decrease more rapidly than income earned increases). But the whole fuckin’ thing would be cleanly fixed by going to single payer. Health care vanishes from the equation then.

    I suppose single payer would result in some decrease in hours worked, due to the effect that you are describing here. But I think it would be much more modest than what the CBO report is predicting.

  5. jdoran says

    I’m not sure preemptively discussing the CBO report would have been the best strategy. The right-wing pundits would just spin it as the CBO colluding with the left. Now they get to look stupid when unemployment goes down.

  6. Nentuaby says

    Hey, so, yeah. I agree with your analysis and all. I’m really pretty stoked about the ACA for its personal effect on me and my family. So I’m not criticizing your article on the whole. But…

    Please, PLEASE stop it with “Kochwhores.” What the fuck is it about the Koch brothers that makes otherwise progressive people suddenly forget it’s not OK to call people cockwhores?

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