Obamacare, The CBO Report And The 2M Jobs Thing

The report itself, which says the supply of laborers might be reduced, isn't the problem — it's the headlines it sparked.

Obamacare, The CBO Report And The 2M Jobs Thing
The White House / Pete Souza

The Congressional Budget Office report outlining how Obamacare will affect the economy could be worrisome for the White House and Democrats in general — but not exactly in the way you've been hearing. 

Many of the initial headlines and news stories about the report were explosive. (Via The Washington TimesTalk Radio News ServiceThe Hill)

"Obamacare will eliminate millions of full-time jobs." (Via KLAX)

"It just may be the worst Obamacare news yet. ... The bill could kill 2 million American jobs. Great." (Via Fox News

To be clear, the report didn't actually say 2 million jobs would be lost because of health care reform. (Via The Washington Post)

Instead, it said many workers might not have to work as much as they had to before in order to receive health insurance — to the equivalent of about 2 million jobs. 

​But many Republicans used the CBO's report as ammunition. House Speaker John Boehner released a statement addressing the "devastating effects" of the Affordable Care Act. (Via Speaker of the House John Boehner)

NBC reporter Chuck Todd tweeted the report "reaffirmed GOP talking points," as Obamacare was once again labeled a "job-killer." (Via Twitter / @Chuck Todd, The Atlantic)

And in light of all of the negative coverage, NBC's Luke Russert called the report an "election-year killer" for Democrats. Here's why he might be right. (Via Twitter / @Luke Russert)

The report itself isn't what could be detrimental to Democrats — in fact, the Los Angeles Times calls it "good news" because the findings reveal how reform will be cheaper than expected, effectively boost how many Americans will have health insurance, and might even be able to make a profit for the U.S. Treasury.

What's important, though, isn't what the CBO report actually says but how the headlines and numbers come across — which is, of course, pretty bad if not explained correctly. 

​As Politico explains: "What matters politically is how the numbers look in attack ads. And in this election year, '2 million lost jobs' is a Republican ad-maker’s dream." Hence, "election-year killer."

The White House has been working to spin the jarring headlines, with Press Secretary Jay Carney stressing that many people can elect to stop working or retire once they have health care coverage. (Via Talking Points Memo, The White House)

But the White House was caught behind the news cycle and lost a lot of footing. One thing's for sure come election season, you can bet the CBO report will likely be making a reappearance in GOP campaign ads and talking points.