WASHINGTON, July 29 The White House on Monday
shot back at critics who claim Obamacare is leading to higher
healthcare costs, slower job growth and rising numbers of
part-time workers, saying the latest economic statistics show
none of those effects.
Nearly one-third of the sharp rise in part-time workers
seen in employment numbers for June was due to federal employee
furloughs caused by automated spending cuts, rather than
employers shifting to part-time workers due to concern about
President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, a senior
administration official said.
The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of
anonymity, also predicted that July job numbers due on Friday
would show a similar increase in part-time workers due largely
to the furlough of 650,000 Defense Department employees.
Federal furloughs are the result of automated
across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, which
went into effect earlier this year after Republicans and
Democrats in Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction
Republicans and other critics of Obamacare have cited the
jump in part-time workers as evidence that employers have been
cutting back on hours to avoid higher healthcare costs under
Obamacare, which will require businesses with 50 or more
full-time workers to provide health insurance in 2015.
The White House on Monday released data that it said shows
no evidence that the law known as the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act has accelerated healthcare costs, reduced
full-time employment or punished small businesses including
The data showed that personal expenditures on healthcare
goods and services grew at 1.1 percent during the year ending in
May, the lowest rate in 50 years measured by the inflation gauge
known as personal consumption expenditures.
Alan Krueger, chairman of White House Council of Economic
Advisers, said in a government blog posting that slower
healthcare cost growth could remain for some time.
"The fact that the slowdown in cost growth reflects changes
in both prices and utilization of medical care -- and that the
slowdown is apparent in many different aspects of the healthcare
system -- further suggests that structural changes are under
way," Krueger said.
Figures released by the White House also showed slower
growth in health insurance costs for small employers and a
faster rate of job growth among businesses with low rates of
employer healthcare coverage. Healthcare reform opponents have
pointed to both groups as being hard hit by higher costs and
slower job growth as a result of Obamacare.