CBO: Obamacare Will Kill 800,000 Jobs Over Decade

Dan Joseph | February 14, 2011 | 4:05am EST
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CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – On the same day that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was chiding House Republicans over job creation, the director of the Congressional Budget Office was testifying in the House Budget Committee that the health-care law President Barack Obama signed last year will kill about 800,000 American jobs over the next decade.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf was responding to a question from Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) regarding an August report from the CBO.

“We do estimate, as you said, that the household employment will be about 160 million by the end of the decade and half a percent of that is 800,000,” said Elmendorf. “That means that if the reduction in the labor used was workers working the average number of hours in the economy and earning the average wage, then there would be a reduction of 800,000 workers.”

“In fact, as we mentioned in our analysis last summer, the [health care] legislation also creates some incentives that might affect the number of hours people work,” he said. “It might affect the propensity to work of higher and lower income people.”

But the analysis shows that “it is the equivalent of withdrawing 800,000” workers from the workforce, said the CBO director.

According to the CBO, some of that decarease in American jobs would come as a result of employers cutting hiring while others would come from those who quit their jobs once they could rely on the new entitlement to pay their health care costs.

Ironically, Elmendorf's testimony came on the same day that Pelosi, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and other congressional Democrats held a news conference to say that House Republicans are not doing enough to stimulate job growth

“The American people are crying out and sending a clear message to Washington: Our number one priority is creating jobs--creating jobs now. Democrats agree. We will will continue to measure every effort as it comes before the Congerss as to whether it creates jobs, whether it strengthens the middle class and whether it reduces the deficit,” Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “Americans are demanding that we put jobs first, that we act to invest in our future and help our economy grow.”

Elmendorf’s testimony, meanwhile, contradicted a prediction Pelosi made last February when she said that passing Obamacare would create a large number of jobs shortly after its passage.

"It's about jobs,” she said. “In its life, it [the health bill] will create 4 million jobs--400,000 jobs almost immediately,” she said at last years White House health-care summit

In an interview with CNSNews.com, Blair Latoff, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce--an organization that is calling for the repeal of Obamacare--said that the law would hurt employment levels within the United States if implementation continues.

“We’ve stated repeatedly that this bill will hurt job creation,” Latoff said. “There’s $500 billion in new taxes. There’s the employer mandate which would require businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance. There’s not an employer out there who doesn’t want to provide insurance for their employees but if you look at the fines that are associated with not giving them insurance or how much insurance they are now required to provide since this new law is passed, it’s impossible for them to cover those expenses so they are going to have to shut their doors.”

House Republicans voted to repeal the legislation in January, but the repeal effort has died in the Senate. Republicans are now looking at ways to defund the legislation.

A district court judge in Florida recently ruled that the law was unconstitutional and declared the entire law to be “void.”  However, the administration is yet to desist in its implementation of the bill’s various mandates.

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