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Obamacare Harms America's Workforce

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Feb. 06, 2014 at 7:42 AM


Obamacare Harms America's Workforce

by Stephen Lendman

Obamacare scams consumers. It's a ripoff. It's a corporate designed scheme. It's smoke and mirrors deception. It's rife with disturbing inequities. It makes a dysfunctional system worse.

It enriches insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains. It's fast food healthcare. It rations it.

It leaves millions uninsured. Millions more are way underinsured. It's outrageously expensive. It's double the cost of other developed countries. It makes healthcare more than ever unaffordable.

Millions of households have to pay 40% or more out-of-pocket. It's for co-pays and deductibles. It's on top of costly premiums.

It gets worse.

New York Times editors are some of Obamacare's biggest boosters. They noticed a glaring problem. On February 4, The Times headlined "Health Care Law Projected to Cut the Labor Force."

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis says so. By 2021, Obamacare will shrink the labor force by about 2.3 million workers.

An earlier estimate predicted 800,000 shrinkage. By 2024, CBO projects 2.5 million. Maybe a future update will hike numbers higher. The more closely Obamacare is examined, the worse it looks.

Ordinary Americans are getting squeezed. Obamacare makes things worse. Doing so harms public health.

The New York Times downplayed the impact. It did so saying the new law "nudges workers to work less."

"(I)nsurance expansion reduces the need for a person to take a full-time job just to get coverage. Premium subsidies effectively bolster household income."

Most workers want higher-paying full-time jobs. They want affordable healthcare coverage. They want what Obamacare denies.

The Times didn't explain. It touts a plan demanding condemnation. It's one of the greatest ever corporate scams.

Martin Luther King called healthcare injustice "the most shocking and inhumane" kind. Inequality is institutionalized. Treatment when most needed is inadequate. For too many it's denied.

Proper healthcare more than ever depends on what people can afford. It means low-wage workers get less. Limited resources make expensive treatments unaffordable.

CBO claims its report isn't about jobs. It states:

"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, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).

Official unemployment numbers are fake. It's not 6.7%. It's 23.3%. It includes millions of workers wanting jobs who can't find them.

Imagine Obamacare making things worse. Imagine low-wage earners reducing their hours to keep Obamacare subsidies. Imagine "creating an implicit tax on (subsidy) earnings," said CBO.

Imagine them delaying or foregoing employment altogether. CBO can't predict numbers leaving the work force.

It doesn't know how many will shift to part-time work. It makes predicting how things will turn out ahead hard to do.

A shrinking workforce indicates economic decline. So does replacing high-pay/good-benefit full-time jobs with low-pay/poor-or-no-benefit part-time or temp ones.

America's workforce no longer resembles a developed country, says Paul Craig Roberts. It's a shell of its former self.

A shrinking workforce when population is rising accelerates its race to the bottom. Imagine designing a healthcare system this way.

Imagine one harming overall health. Imagine it reducing aggregate labor compensation. Imagine the impact of penalties.

They affect workers refusing to buy healthcare coverage. They impact employers not providing it to full-time workers.

Imagine dozens of new tax provisions letting IRS agents enforce Obamacare implementation. Imagine giving them this much power. Imagine making things more nightmarish.

Imagine a politicized healthcare system. Imagine one harming health more than protecting it. Imagine bad medicine multiple ways. Imagine Republicans taking full advantage.

"The president's healthcare law creates uncertainty for small businesses, hurts take-home pay, and makes it harder to invest in new workers," said House Speaker John Boehner.

"The middle class is getting squeezed in this economy, and this CBO report confirms that Obamacare is making it worse."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV) said Americans "rightfully...shouldn't have job lock."

"We live in a country where we should be free agents. People can do what they want."

It they want to eat, pay rent and cover other vital expenses, they need jobs. They need decent incomes. They need government working for, not against them.

Senator Joe Manchin III (D. W VA) called the combination of low enrollments and workforce declines Obamacare's "Waterloo."

Whether true or not remains to be seen. CBO also estimated about a million fewer Americans than expected getting healthcare coverage this year.

Rollout problems bear much responsibility. So do fewer Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Plan enrollments.

CBO estimates six million Americans enrolling through exchanges this year. Earlier it estimated seven million.

Expanded Medicaid and other public programs will enroll about eight million Americans. It's down from nine million estimated earlier.

"Over time," said CBO, "more people are expected to respond to the new coverage options, so enrollment is projected to increase sharply in 2015 and 2016."

By 2017, it estimates 25 million enrollees. A White House statement said "individuals will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods."

They'll "have the opportunity to pursue their dreams." Perhaps Obama endorses the American dream of not working.

Ordinary Americans can't survive without it. Obamacare promises were broken. Remember ones Obama made.

"If you like your health care plan," you can keep it, "period."

Millions of Americans lost theirs.

"If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period."

Doing so requires millions of Americans paying extra.

"(W)e'll lower premiums by up to ,500 for a typical family per year."

They're significantly higher for most households.

Up to "90% of Americans (with) health insurance (get) stronger, better and more secure (coverage than) before...They don't have to worry about anything else."

Onerous mandates are imposed on individuals with employer-provided coverage.

"(N)o family making less than 0,000 a year will see any form of tax increase."

Obamacare mandates 18 tax hikes, fees and penalties. Middle class households are heavily impacted.

Obama said he wouldn't sign any plan "add(ing) one dime to our deficits - either now or in the future."

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates annual Obamacare costs will "increase the primary deficit by 0.7 percent of gross domestic spending."

Elements "reduc(ing) costs for families, businesses, and government (are) in this bill."

Higher insurance premiums and other increased costs assure higher spending, not less.

"I will protect Medicare," Obama promised.

Obamacare cuts Medicare spending. Mandates decrease it by over 0 billion from 2013 - 2022. Future reductions are planned.

Over the next decade or earlier, Medicare will be transformed radically. Obama wants it privatized en route to eliminating it altogether.

He wants the same for Social Security. Medicaid years ahead may be substantially downsized.

Obama promised a public option. He said he'd "sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of (his) first term as president that will cover every American."

Obamacare leaves millions uninsured. It leaves millions more woefully underinsured. It makes a dysfunctional system much worse. It enriches providers at the expense of proper healthcare.

"(T)his law means more choice, more competition, and lower costs for millions of Americans."

Obamacare is polar opposite. A fundamental human right is compromised. Human life and welfare are bartered for profit.

Marketplace competition decreased. In half of US counties, consumers have either one or two insurer choices.

Costs are much higher for most people. Americans deserve much more than they're getting.

Universal single payer advocates hope their day will come. Medicare for all is the obvious solution.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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