In last week’s email to constituents, our congressman, Rep. Tom Reed, had this to say about Obamacare:
“The recent report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found Obamacare will reduce employment by as many as 2.5 million full-time jobs in the next decade and insure one million fewer individuals this year than previously estimated.”
This blog has already examined the claim about the CBO report and Obamacare. To review, the CBO estimated that the availability of insurance under the Affordable Care Act will reduce the size of the workforce by the equivalent of 2.5 million full time positions because some workers will choose to reduce their hours. They are not going to be fired. Instead, since they have a way of purchasing insurance as individuals on the state exchanges, they are no longer beholden to employers for their insurance. This is particularly important for workers with pre-existing conditions, who cannot be denied private insurance under Obamacare, or charged higher rates than others, and for those who are hanging on to jobs they don’t really like because of the health insurance those jobs provide.
Obamacare will be extremely helpful to many of Rep. Reed’s constituents because of the new freedom it provides them. But Rep. Reed chooses to ignore this and to claim inaccurately that Obamacare is going to reduce employment. The media have amply covered this issue and made the facts clear. CBO has issued a FAQ explaining at length that it did not say that the Affordable Care Act was going to cause 2.5 million people to lose their jobs.
Reed continues with a vague statement about one million fewer people being insured than expected, suggesting that many are being hurt by Obamacare. He doesn’t mention that 3.3 million people have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the last four months, including 1.1 million who enrolled in January. Obamacare is now at 75% of its enrollment target, and the pace of enrollment is increasing. This is a marvelous development. Millions of Americans now have affordable health insurance, yet Rep. Reed portrays this achievement as some sort of failure.
All of this raises a question. Does Rep. Reed not understand the facts with respect to Obamacare? If he does understand the facts but intentionally misrepresents them, constituents can only draw the obvious conclusion.
Rep. Reed ended his comments on Obamacare with a derogatory remark: “it’s clear this law was never ready for prime time.” Voters in New York’s 23rd have reason to ask whether a congressman who does not understand an important law, or who misrepresents it, is ready for prime time.