KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

CBO Report Reaction Leads To Fact-Checking, Heavy Dose Of Political Debate

Despite the political storm it has generated, the latest report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the law will give several million people an opportunity to work less or not at all, because they won't be stuck in jobs simply to keep their job-based insurance.

The Associated Press: Report On ‘Obamacare’ Doesn’t Indicate Millions Will Be Laid Off From Jobs
New estimates that President Barack Obama's health care law will encourage millions of Americans to leave the workforce or reduce their work hours have touched off an I-told-you-so chorus from Republicans, who've claimed all along that the law will kill jobs. But some aren't telling it straight. The analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts the law will give several million people an opportunity to work less or not at all, because they won't be stuck in jobs just for the sake of keeping the health insurance they get from employers (Woodward, 2/5).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Health-Care Storm Roils White House Again
Since Democrats passed President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul in 2010, the White House has tried to move its agenda beyond the storm of criticism that followed. Yet every time Mr. Obama and his aides find reprieve from one politically charged battle – the Supreme Court case, the many Republican attempts to repeal the law and the 2012 election, to name a few – another emerges. This week it was a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that predicts the law will insure fewer people than expected and reduce the number of hours that Americans work by more than previously thought. Republicans seized on the findings (Lee, 2/6). 

The Washington Post: What Small Business Owners Should Know About The New Obamacare Report
Congressional budget analysts on Tuesday released revised estimates concerning the economic footprint of the health care law, spawning another round of headlines declaring that Obamacare will take a massive bite out of workers’ hours and eliminate millions of jobs. Thing is, that’s not what the report said at all. In fact, the nonpartisan group’s predictions actually refute some of the warnings from small business leaders — namely, that the law will force employers to trim hours for their current workers and think twice about hiring new ones (Harrison, 2/5). 

NPR: One Day After CBO Report, It's Time To Start Your Spin Cycle
On Tuesday, economists with the Congressional Budget Office announced findings that indicated the new health care law may result in hundreds of thousands leaving the workforce. The findings spurred new debate on the merits of the law and its economic impact. NPR's Scott Horsley has more on the reactions to the report (Horsley, 2/5). 

NPR: Reining In Health Care Costs Key To Trimming Deficit
The Congressional Budget Office earlier this week said this year's deficit is likely to be about a-third the size it was back in 2009 when the Great Recession bottomed out. A recovering economy is the main reason for the deficit's improvement, but moderating health care costs have also contributed. Harvard economist and health policy specialist David Cutler says getting the federal government's finances under control is all about health care (Ydstie, 2/6).

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