The head of the trusted Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted ObamaCare will drive people out of the job market. Douglas Elmendorf, in an Oct. 22 talk, called this the most significant impact of the law, which now universally leaves a bad taste in Americans’ mouths. As director of the CBO, he is Congress’s chief accountant.
In a bizarre way, Elmendorf’s conclusion that the nationalized health law will reduce the workforce jibes with the fantasy world visualized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). She suggested on May 14 that ObamaCare would let people quit work and go dancing off to play the flute or some such zany preoccupation. With her usual dazed grin, Pelosi said: “We see it as an entrepreneurial bill.” She envisioned “a bill that says to someone if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skills, your aspirations because you will have health care.” Whoopee!
Elmendorf explained that Americans would choose not to work because they could subsist on the generous government insurance subsidies and Medicaid payments in the health care overhaul. “Some provisions of the legislation will discourage people from working more hours or entering the workforce and other provisions will encourage them to work more.” But, he said, “the net effect will be reduction in the supply of labor, “largely attributable to the substantial expansion of Medicaid and the provision of subsidies through the new insurance exchanges.”
The CBO chief’s talk further explained what the 2,000-plus-page law means in practical terms, according to an Oct. 26 story from CNSNews.com. He said that already this year, major insurance companies, in advance of ObamaCare’s stringent regulations, stopped offering individual health insurance policies for children. Also McDonald’s and other large companies signaled they would have to drop health care coverage for their mainly hourly workers because of mandates in the law that dictate how much of premium revenues companies can put towards administrative and other expenses. Faced with this, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) granted McDonald’s a waiver.
Elmendorf gave his frank talk at a conference Oct 22 sponsored by the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California. He said the Democrat-sponsored health law would reduce unnecessary spending on health care by insured people—but only to “a very limited extent” over the next decade. Some of the main complaints about the law, even as the bill was being written, are that it doesn’t do enough to reduce costs. He also said the new law will expand the health care sector of the economy as millions more people are expected to have insurance by 2019. And gaining insurance coverage “will increase an individual’s demand for health services by about 40 percent.”
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