The White House on Tuesday pushed back against a report from the Congressional Budget Office which said that Obamacare was costing the nation jobs and slowing economic growth.
“Since the Affordable Care Act passed into law in March 2010 the private sector has added 8.1 million jobs,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney in a statement. “That is the strongest 45 month job growth since the late 1990s and contrasts with the 3.8 million private sector jobs lost in the decade before the Affordable Care Act passed.
“Claims that the Affordable Care Act hurts jobs are simply belied by the facts in the CBO report,” he continued. “CBO’s findings are not driven by an assumption that ACA will lead employers to eliminate jobs or reduce hours, in fact, the report itself says that there is ‘no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA.’”
“While many factors affect job growth, the actual performance of businesses refutes those who predicted that the Affordable Care Act would dramatically hurt the economy,” Carney added.
A report from the nonpartisan CBO released earlier Tuesday said that the president's health care reform law -- his signature domestic achievement -- would lead to 2 million fewer full-time equivalent workers in 2017 and as many as 2.5 million by 2024.
CBO projected that workforce hours would also decline by as much as 2 percent between 2017 and 2024.
The report cited a number of factors for the drop in full-time workers and worker compensation, including smaller businesses scaling back on hours to avoid new Obamacare regulations as well as workers choosing to leave the workforce because of new health insurance subsidies.
The CBO projections came after the rocky rollout of the healthcare.gov website in October led to lower-than-expected enrollment numbers and dragged Obama to the lowest approval marks of his presidency. GOP lawmakers, who have said the law was not ready for primetime, seized on the CBO report, questioning the law’s economic impact.
Polls show that support for Obamacare dropped after the botched rollout, but the administration has made economic arguments a centerpiece of their campaign to win back the public.
“What the CBO report does find is one key immediate effect of the Affordable Care Act is to ‘induce some employers to hire more workers or to increase the hours of current employees’ during the 2014-16 period,” Carney said.
“Over the longer run, CBO finds that because of this law, individuals will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods, like retiring on time rather than working into their elderly years or choosing to spend more time with their families,” he continued. “At the beginning of this year, we noted that as part of this new day in health care, Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide coverage for their families, and would have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
He added that GOP efforts to repeal the health law would “strip those hard-working Americans of that opportunity.”
Carney said that the CBO report admitted its analysis was “incomplete,” and did not account for positive results from Obamacare, including a slower rise in health care costs or new jobs in the medical industry, or possible deficit savings over the next two decades.