There are lies, damn lies and (misrepresentation of) statistics.
Before the Affordable Care Act passed–when the country was debating the whys and wherefores of reform–proponents of major change (of whom I was one) pointed to the undeniable problems with America’s patchwork health delivery: the fact that we spent more per-person than any other country (by massive amounts) with significantly worse outcomes; that millions of Americans couldn’t obtain coverage either because they couldn’t afford it or due to pre-existing conditions; and that millions of people were stuck in jobs they hated because they’d lose coverage if they quit.
How many new businesses, we asked, weren’t started because the would-be entrepreneur had a child with a pre-existing condition? How many people of a “certain age” wanted to cut back, but couldn’t because they’d lose their health coverage? How many Americans were effectively “slaves” to a job they didn’t want, staying solely for the health insurance?
Eliminating that “slavery” was a major goal of reform. It was one reason that many of us argued for decoupling health insurance from employment entirely, and making it part of social security, as it is elsewhere. We didn’t get that done, but the ACA is at least a step in the right direction.
A couple of days ago, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report showing real progress toward that goal of freeing people from jobs they hated:
With the expansion of insurance coverage, more workers will choose not to work and others will choose to work fewer hours than they might have otherwise, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The usual suspects immediately went into propaganda mode. “See,” they screamed, “Obamacare is killing jobs.”
Of course, that isn’t what the CBO said. It said people were voluntarily leaving jobs. The jobs are still there, and will need to be filled when the newly-freed depart–which should be good news to unemployed folks looking for work.
Somehow, in the fevered imaginations of the uninformed–and the dishonest rhetoric of the politically self-serving–meeting one of the original goals of health reform is evidence that it doesn’t work.
I’m getting dizzy from the spin cycle.