OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Battle over ObamaCare CBO report rages

Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee slugged it out Tuesday over the meaning of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that found ObamaCare will cost the nation the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers in the next decade.

Last week's report initially resulted in loaded shorthand from lawmakers, confused reporting, furious fact checks and analyses and attempts by both parties to spin the findings to their benefit. But a week later, the murky nature of the economic impact beyond the CBO analysis still has Republicans and Democrats scrambling to seize the high ground on a talking point that figures to play a primary role in an election year.

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At Tuesday’s hearing with CBO Director Doug Elmendorf, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) acknowledged Republicans and Democrats were “speaking two languages” in the matter.

“People watching this today will be scratching their heads because you can look at this from so many different ways,” she said.Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.


BREAKING: House approves clean debt-ceiling bill.

Delays, Part I: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) defended the administration’s decision to delay some ObamaCare mandates. Reid said Republicans should “stop talking out of both sides of their mouths” by complaining that the healthcare mandates are burdensome to businesses yet then decrying the administration’s decision to delay them.

On Monday, the Obama administration announced a second delay of the employer mandate under ObamaCare. The decision gives businesses that have between 50 and 99 employees until January 2016 to either offer health insurance or pay penalties. Ramsey Cox at The Hill reports.

Delays, Part II: A top White House official dismissed GOP critiques of delays to portions of the healthcare reform law as disingenuous Tuesday. Gene Sperling, director of the president’s National Economic Council, argued Republicans would find any reason to criticize the president’s landmark legislative achievement.

Gene Sperling, director of the president’s National Economic Council, argued Republicans would find any reason to criticize the president’s landmark legislative achievement.

Republicans are blasting the White House for Monday’s decision to again delay the employer mandate as proof the law is unworkable. But Sperling contended the president was being pragmatic in choosing to delay the effectiveness of parts of the landmark law, and that if he did not try to smooth the transition for businesses, Republicans would criticize that instead.

Peter Schroeder at The Hill reports.

State by State:

Covered California is hiring more workers to fix service problems.

Illinois using The Onion to reach uninsured.

Costs rising for broken Maryland health exchange.

Reading List:

It’s become impossible to defend ObamaCare, by Ron Fournier at The National Journal.

Why AOL’s Armstrong needs ObamaCare, by Ezra Klein at Bloomberg.

The ObamaCare Adhocracy, by Yuval Levin at The National Review.

What the latest ObamaCare delays mean, by Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post.

What you may have missed at HealthWatch:

HHS: Most uninsured Latinos qualify for discounted healthcare.

Bevin hits McConnell on ObamaCare repeal.

GAO: Drug shortages loom as health threat.