GOP jumps on old CBO job numbers

However, the CBO prediction is a little more nuanced. Last summer's CBO report said the projected labor reduction is "largely" the result of more people voluntarily staying out of the workforce because the healthcare reform law gives them better healthcare options through an expansion of Medicaid and new state-run health insurance exchanges.

From the report:

"The expansion of Medicaid and the availability of  subsidies through the exchanges will effectively increase beneficiaries’ financial resources. Those additional resources will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market."

Further, a ban on discriminating against preexisting conditions will likely  "increase the appeal" of health insurance plans offered outside the workplace for older workers.

"As a result," CBO said, "some older workers will choose to retire earlier than they otherwise would."

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, asked Elmendorf to explain the report on Thursday.

"One of the impacts you said was that there will be some individuals who, because they can get their health care through the exchange ... would now have the freedom to choose to not get a job simply because they needed the health care," Van Hollen said, according to a transcript from CQ. "Isn't that correct?" 

"Yes, that's right," Elmendorf replied.