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The Congressional Budget Office is a nonpartisan agency with a reputation for producing reliable analyses on big issues. So it had big impact on the Washington party-duopoly game Tuesday when, as Bloomberg News reported:
"Obamacare will reduce the hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2 million full-time jobs in 2017, the Congressional Budget Office said, sparking renewed Republican criticism of the law and a fresh defense from the White House."
What this means is, of course, being debated and challenged by those who are not already singing in the kill-Obamacare chorus.
Slate quotes the CBO report as saying:
The ACA will tend to reduce participation, with the largest impact stemming from new subsidies that reduce the cost of health insurance purchased through exchanges. Specifically, by providing subsidies that reduce the cost of health insurance purchased through exchanges. Specifically, by providing subsidies that decline with rising income (and increase with falling income) and by making some people financially better off, the ACA will create an incentive for some people to choose to work less.
Conservatives had their pick of possible spins. Subsidies were turning more people into "takers," for example. But the consensus spin was that, in the short run, there'd be 2 million fewer laborers looking for full-time jobs -- more than the CBO had estimated previously. This was truncated into "Obamacare is killing 2 million jobs, even though Democrats said it would create jobs."
But everyone knows that ifs, buts and complications make bad bumper stickers. So Republican Obamacare critics in the GOP-Democratic rivalry have something to cheer about. This will have impact.