By now most political observers have heard the major finding from the recently released CBO report on Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce the hours worked in the U.S. economy by 1.5-2.0 percent between 2017-24 resulting in a decline in full time workers of 2.5 million by 2024.  The CBO explains why,

“In CBO’s view, the ACA’s effects on labor supply will stem mainly from the following provisions, roughly in order of importance:

The subsidies for health insurance purchased through exchanges;

The expansion of eligibility for Medicaid;

The penalties on employers that decline to offer insurance; and

The new taxes imposed on labor income.”  (Emphasis added.)

The President, elected Democrats, and the mainstream media are spinning furiously to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  They tell us that the disincentives in the labor market caused by the ACA are a positive development making it possible now for Americans to choose not to work.  It turns out that with Obamacare, we have the opportunity to focus on our families and our passions instead of work.  Congressman Keith Ellison even claims it’s hard to be an American and we deserve a break,

“You know, if you look at international comparisons country by country, Americans work way more than an average of industrialized countries around the world.  And you know, we might want to look at our work  - our work-life balance and this is something that gives us a great opportunity.”  (Real Clear Politics transcript of ABC’s “This Week,” Feb. 9, 2014)

Governor Kasich has a little spinning to do himself.  He spent 2013 telling Ohioans that Medicaid expansion was not about the ACA, but about getting the most vulnerable “out of the shadows” and into the workforce.  Speaking with Joel Riley of 610 WTVN Governor Kasich said,

“Well, the Medicaid expansion is different than Obamacare. Basically, what we wanna do is to be able to bring back $14 billion of our money, Ohio taxpayer money, to distribute to people who treat folks who are addicted, the alcohol and drug community organizations. We want to give people a chance to get rehabbed and get back to work.” (Freedomworks’ transcript of WTVN’s Kasich interview, August 26, 2013)

The CBO report, however, states the opposite – not only is Medicaid expansion about Obamacare, but it is one of the primary components of Obamacare that is bringing about a declining labor market.

There are a few other tidbits buried in the CBO report as well:

  • By 2018, the CBO projects that approximately 80% of those eligible for Medicaid expansion will live in states that have expanded Medicaid.

It’s only fair to ask, then, how big will the influx be in Ohio of people looking to take advantage of Governor Kasich’s largesse?  And, how will these new Ohioans vote?

  • The CBO predicts the ACA will reduce aggregate labor compensation in the economy by about 1 percent between 2017-24.  According to the CBO, this decrease in earnings will be borne primarily by lower-wage workers who are most affected by the disincentives inherent in Obamacare such as Medicaid expansion.

Governor Kasich often speaks of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion as a helping hand to those on the lower end of the income scale.  Now we learn from the CBO that the effects of the ACA actually take money away from low-income workers in the form of lost wages, effectively widening the income gap.

  • The CBO estimates that slower economic growth over the period 2014-2023 will add another $1 trillion to the nation’s deficit.  Smaller wages, salaries and corporate profits will lead to lower federal tax revenues thus increasing the deficit.

Voters were told the ACA would be a boon to the economy and bring the deficit down.  The American people will bear the consequences of these false promises.

  • Starting in 2017, the CBO expects 24-25 million people each year will gain insurance through the ACA’s exchanges.  The CBO estimates that about 80% of these new participants will receive premium subsidies.
  • Between 2015-24, the CBO expects enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) to increase by 12-13 million people each year.

Together, the ACA’s premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion will lead to a staggering growth in government dependency.

  • Between 2016-24, the CBO projects 6-7 million fewer people each year will have employer based health insurance.

The CBO’s projected decline in employer provided health insurance stands in stark contrast to President Obama’s statement on June 28, 2012 after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Obamacare ruling.  President Obama said,

First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable.”

  • Between 2015-24, the CBO projects the ACA will cost taxpayers $2 trillion dollars in the form of Medicaid expansion, CHIP, premium subsidies, and tax credits.  Another $517 billion is projected to be spent by the private sector on excise taxes and on penalties incurred by non compliant individuals and employers.
  • Despite the country’s $2.5 trillion investment in “affordable care,” the CBO projects that approximately 30 million U.S. residents will still be without health insurance in 2024.

Hmm, 30 million sounds familiar.  Referring again to his June 28, 2012 remarks concerning the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling, President Obama said,

“Now, if you are one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.” 

Feels like the movie, “Groundhog Day.”

The ACA is certainly not what it was cracked up to be.  Ohioans were sold a bill of goods when Governor Kasich advocated for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and then rammed it through the Controlling Board.

In light of Obamacare’s disastrous roll-out, the findings in the CBO report, and Governor Kasich’s fallacious statements on the nature and the effects of Medicaid expansion, now is the time for the General Assembly to step in and roll back the Obamacare-directed Medicaid expansion that was foisted upon Ohio through questionable means. Statehouse Republicans can do so by passing a veto-proof repeal of Governor Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid.

It’s time Ohio’s elected representatives heed the ACA warning signs that come daily from Washington.  Between Congressional hearings on an insecure website, the endless Executive Orders delaying portions of the bill, and a CBO report that confirms the worst, there is plenty of evidence that the ACA is harming the economy, weakening the labor market, drastically increasing government dependency, and making it more difficult for Americans to carry affordable, high quality health insurance.

It is incumbent upon Statehouse Republicans to protect Ohioans from the destructive effects of the ACA by repealing Medicaid expansion before they are voted out of office by a disgusted Republican base and the one million new Medicaid enrollees in Ohio not interested in a Republican platform.

The CBO report can be found here.