Getting it right: Obamacare frees up jobs - and Americans

Getting it right: Obamacare frees up jobs - and Americans

February 7th, 2014 in Opinion Times

Republicans and right-wing media organizations fell all over themselves this week rushing to tweet out and broadcast what they wanted to read into a Congressional Budget Office report about Obamacare - rather than what the report actually said.

And they were wrong, wrong, wrong. What a shock.

They claimed incorrectly that the report found the Affordable Care Act would cost 2.5 million full-time jobs.

The truthful read is that the new health care law will free up about 2.5 million jobs when people who were working in jobs only to keep insurance coverage would finally be able to retire or move to part-time employment.

That's a big difference.

Here's the exact report wording: "CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor -- given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive. ... 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."

And here's more: "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 ..."

Here's what it all means: People won't have to work just to keep insurance, nor will they have to work two or three jobs just to pay for an individual health care policy -- or out-of-pocket expenses -- if they work where insurance is not provided.

The Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- will literally free Americans who have been trapped in jobs they didn't want.

Now some Republicans and pundits already have readjusted their whines to say the new law rewards those who don't want to work hard. What baloney.

Americans work harder than people in any other developed nation. According to the Center for American Progress and the International Labor Organization, 85.8 percent of U.S. men and 66.5 percent of U.S. women work more than 40 hours per week. And Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average productivity per American worker has increased 400 percent since 1950.

The reality is that the predicted labor shift will have about the same affect as retirements by baby boomers. It will open job opportunities for people who are underemployed or who can't get in the workforce now.

Just think, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted some 45 times to try to repeal this wonderful break for Americans -- mainly because they don't like the president or the political party he embodies.

Is the GOP really this cruel, or is it just dense?