Thinking Out Loud: The Selling of Obamacare–Paging Mr. Orwell

I have always found the sales pitch on behalf of Obamacare somewhat Orwellian, but this has now risen to new heights.   President Obama and his Democratic allies have constantly claimed that Obamacare will minimally impact the economy (when it isn’t actually improving the economy), and they have often used statistics from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — as close to an impartial government agency as there is in Washington — to prove their claims.  So imagine their shock when, recently, the CBO said that, having updated its numbers, Obamacare will cost the economy the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs.

There are two reasons for this.  Obamacare discourages employers from hiring and it discourages workers from working (that would seem to cover it).

It especially discourages low-income workers from working because under Obamacare the less money you make the more the government (taxpayers) subsidizes your healthcare.  University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan notes that Obamacare’s subsidies “will sharply reduce the financial reward to working because [the subsidies] will be phased out” as income increases.  But Obamacare also discourages higher income workers because the more money they make the more Obamacare taxes them (to help subsidize Obamacare’s low-income workers).

And, of course, Obamacare discourages hiring, not just because employers today are totally confused about how much Obamacare will ultimately cost them to cover their employees, but also because Obamacare only applies to companies with 50 or more full-time employees.  So small businesses are discouraged from hiring, and all businesses are encouraged to turn full-time employees into part-time employees.

What is Orwellian about this is that many of Obama’s supporters, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are calling this “good news” because people who took jobs solely for the health insurance can now leave those jobs knowing Obamacare is there to protect them.  “This is people having new choices,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.  As he explained, they can choose to leave their jobs to look for other jobs, or start their own businesses, or spend more time with family.

Except that the economy is shedding jobs, small-business start-ups are practically non-existent, and your family members would probably prefer that you bring home a paycheck to feed, clothe and shelter them.

On that note, in describing the 225,000 Michigan residents who, under Obamacare, had the policies “they like” cancelled, The New York Times recently wrote, “[They] were actually told they could change to a better policy.”

No, their cancellation letter “actually” said, “Your current plan does not meet all the requirements of the health care reform law and will be discontinued on December 31, 2013.  We are sorry for any inconvenience that might result.”

Paging George Orwell. That’s a cancellation, not “a better policy.”