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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Does a CBO report really say Obamacare means 2 million will lose their jobs? In a word, no

TPM -The GOP Has It Wrong: Obamacare Won't 'Cost' 2 Million Jobs

Or at least, only if you misunderstand it —which, sadly, is easy to do when major news outlets are misreporting the story. The right is, of course, running wild with the story and it seems no one has actually bothered to sit down and read the damned thing. There’s a rampant misunderstanding of how jobs are measured in the Congressional Budget Office’s report and this is resulting in confusion — which the right and Republicans are running in to exploit. TPM’s Dylan Scott has the skinny (emphasis mine):

What the CBO really found was that the numbers of hours worked would decrease under Obamacare, by roughly 1.5 percent to 2 percent between 2017 and 2024. The report then translated those lost hours into the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs. But that doesn’t mean 2.5 million jobs are going to disappear from the U.S. economy.

The CBO report, in fact, specifically undermines that claim.

Those lost hours will “almost entirely” be the result of people choosing to work fewer hours because of Obamacare — not because they lost their jobs or can’t find a full-time job.
"The report explicitly says that Obamacare isn’t going to force businesses to cut jobs on any grand scale," Scott reports. "What it is going to do is change how much Americans work." Obamacare will actually free people to work less, since insurance coverage won’t be dependent on full-time hours. 35 hours a week is better fit for your family? Great. Knock yourself out. It’s not like you’ll lose your health coverage or anything.

No wonder the GOP is eager to spin this thing right out of the gate; if Americans find out what it really means, they’re not going to be interested in messing with Obamacare at all, much less repealing it.

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