The latest Congressional Budget Office report shows that millions of workers may be able to retire sooner or potentially have the financial security to work fewer hours to keep their subsidies with their plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act over the next few years. Of course, Fox News saw it differently.
In addition to being an incredibly misleading headline, the above Fox piece is actually an odd/edited interpretation of an article originally published by The Washington Times (what is this, Buzzfeed?).
Fox (surprisingly) kept this quote from the CBO that also appears in the Times piece:
“CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 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.”
At no point in the article does Fox News show an understanding of the difference between an individual choosing to leave a job and losing a job.
The “fair and balanced” network was far from the only conservative “news” source jumping in the dogpile. Taking a break from publicly sharing their disdain for same-sex couples and different ethnicities signing a song written by a lesbian, Breitbart.com posted their own story dramatically chronicling the “elimination of 2.5 million” jobs by Obamacare.
Whether it is the 2 million jobs (estimated for 2017) cited by Fox or the 2.5 (for 2024) million by Breitbart, neither conservative source uses the crucial sentence that is written in the very same paragraph of the report as those numbers:
“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…”
The CBO anticipates there won’t be a shortage of applicants to fill any potential job vacancies left by individuals choosing to leave the work force. Just another detail conveniently omitted by both sites.
In response to the CBO report, White House Chief Economic Advisor Jason Furman elaborated on the potential freedom the ACA can offer to people:
“Maybe a spouse who wanted to be part-time so they could spend more time with their family now is able to do that,” Furman told journalists in comments that appeared in the Times article, but not the Fox piece. “Somebody else who wanted to start a business and become an entrepreneur and was terrified of doing it because they’d lose their insurance is now able to do that too, and switch and take a chance on creating jobs and growing the overall economy.”
That is exactly what Arizona couple Joseph and Claudia Schulz did last year, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. With their healthcare plans no longer tied directly to their employers, the couple quit their jobs and launched their own real estate business after purchasing a new family plan through the ACA website. Even without a tax subsidy, the new plan (which covers three children) features a premium that is $900 less a month than their previous plan under COBRA.
If the freedom for Americans to choose to more spend time with their grandchildren, rather than as a greeter at Wal-Mart isn’t enough to convince you of the horrors of the ACA, then prepare yourself for the grim tale of Bette.
Last week, GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. During her appearance, the Washington Representative told the story of Bette from Spokane. In a letter to Rodgers, Bette explained her premiums increased by $700 a month under the Affordable Care Act.
Well, it turns out the price increase came directly from her healthcare insurer and Bette has never even visited the healthcare exchanges (even after a friend of Bette’s informed her she found a plan for just $129 a month). Bette’s story is nearly identical to that of Allison Denij, who appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show last year.
What is truly disturbing about Bette’s situation is that she wrote her representative about her dire situation and was simply used as a political prop in response. There is no indication that Rep. Rodgers assisted Bette by encouraging her to seek a lower price on the marketplace or that she even forwarded her the state’s marketplace site address. In fact, Rodgers’ actions nearly confirm this did not happen. Bette’s representative failed her.
Even more frustrating is that Rodgers is not the only Republican standing in the way of their constituents finding affordable healthcare.
In December of last year, GOP members of the California State Assembly went as far to send out mailers intentionally directing people to a false healthcare site.
This law simply isn’t the lost Tales from the Crypt episode the GOP makes it out to be. After two years of doing freelance work, none of which offered health insurance, I am finally covered under a plan offered by Anthem which I purchased from the ACA marketplace in December.
If you know someone in need of coverage or who is struggling financially with their current plan, encourage them to sign up with the marketplace. Especially if you live in Washington state, because Cathy McMorris Rodgers sure as hell isn’t helping anybody soon.