Senate Democrats

Republicans Blatantly Twist Facts On CBO Testimony

Republicans are blatantly misrepresenting CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf’s testimony. Republicans mischaracterize CBO’s analysis by claiming that as a result of ACA, 800,000 fewer individuals will have access to jobs.

CBO projects that as a result of ACA, millions of Americans will have increased financial resources by 2021. [CBO, 8/1/2010] ACA will slow the growth rate of health care costs while providing individuals, families, and small business financial incentives for purchasing health insurance coverage.  As a result of these increased resources, individuals may have the opportunity to leave the labor market earlier than initially anticipated. [CBO, 8/1/2010]  “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount—roughly half a percent—primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply.” [CBO, 8/1/2010]

For example, older Americans may choose to retire earlier than they would have without ACA. New consumer protections, including prohibitions on insurance plans from varying premium prices based on age, will allow more older Americans to purchase plans outside of the workplace and retire earlier than they otherwise would.  Additionally, individuals living with pre-existing conditions may no longer have to work two jobs in order to have access to health insurance.

“Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, asked Elmendorf to explain clarify his response.  ‘One of the impacts you said was that there will be some individuals who, because they can get their health care through the exchange … would now have the freedom to choose to not get a job simply because they needed the health care,’ Van Hollen said, according to a transcript from CQ. ‘Isn't that correct?’ ‘Yes, that's right,’ Elmendorf replied.” [The Hill, 2/10/2011]

ACA will strengthen our economy, empower consumers, and grow American business. By slowing the growth of healthcare costs for employers and individuals and increasing demand for healthcare goods and services, ACA could create as many as 400,000 new jobs this decade.  [CAP, 1/2011

  • Harvard Economist David Cutler in a report by the Center for American Progress suggests that the law will add 250,000 to 400,000 jobsover the next decade (see Figure 4). [CAP, 1/2011
  • The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) estimates that ACA may create as many as 890,000 new jobs in the health care sector, “The number of ambulatory healthcare professionals (physicians, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners) needed will increase by 330,000. An additional 327,000 staff will be required to work in hospitals. Some 157,000 more nurses (net of retirements) will be needed to staff doctors’ offices, outpatient clinics, and other provider locations. And payrolls at insurance companies will expand by 76,000 workers.” [NFIB, 1/26/2009]
  • Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the economy has created over 1 million private sector jobs.  The unemployment rate is 9.0%, lower than it was in March 2010—9.7%. [WH, 1/7/2011; BLS, 2/4/11]
  • “The law widely expands coverage to Americans, thereby reducing the hidden tax of about $1,000 that families with insurance pay each year in additional premium costs to cover the uncompensated costs of the uninsured.” [WH, 1/7/2011]
  • “The law reduces small businesses’ health care expenses by giving them $40 billion worth of tax credits, and through the creation of new, competitive state-based insurance Exchanges.  Exchanges will enable individuals and small businesses to pool together and use their market strength to buy coverage at a lower cost, the same way large employers do today, giving them the freedom to launch their own companies without worrying whether health care will be available when they need it.” [WH, 1/7/2011]
  • “The law will lower the deficit by over $100 billion this decade and by over $1 trillion in the following decade.” [WH, 1/7/2011]