(NaturalNews) In recent days, the Congressional Budget Office released a devastating report containing some really bad news for the U.S. economy: Gross Domestic Product had ticked up barely 1.5 percent last quarter, and that comes on top of additional depressing economic news and a series of quarters where poor growth has been the norm rather than the exception.
Now, a new report has confirmed what many, including Natural News, predicted long ago: that the Affordable Care Act, with all of its expensive coverage mandates for businesses and companies, is costing jobs, and this at a time when job growth has been as stagnant as economic growth.
You will never get the White House to admit this, though; for months, officials there, including the President, whom the law is named after, have dismissed data suggesting that Obamacare is indeed having a negative impact on employment (and this, from a president and vice president who claim to be champions of "the middle class").
Now, such denials will be a harder sell; a recent business climate survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has found seemingly undeniable proof that the law which a majority of Americans continue to loathe and oppose is causing businesses to shed employees and cut health coverage benefits.
'One in five affected'
The report notes:
Over 18 percent of the firms indicated that the number of workers they employ was lower because of the ACA; 3 percent indicated higher levels. The same percentage (18 percent) indicated that the proportion of part-time workers had increased.
"That almost one in five employers had reduced employment is significant," wrote Naomi Lopez Bauman, director of Health Policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, in The Madison-St. Clair Record. "That almost one in five employers had reduced employment is significant. The survey also found that about one-half of employers had changed their health insurance offerings as a result of the law. And a vast majority of those affected were forced to pay higher premiums."
Continuing, the Philly Fed report said that, regarding "health benefit coverage," 41 percent of businesses reported that coverage was unchanged. However, more than half -- 52 percent -- indicated that "modifications to their offerings" had been implemented:
Among those modifying their health insurance coverage, higher deductibles (91 percent), higher worker contributed premiums (88 percent), and higher out-of-pocket maximums (77 percent) were the most cited changes.
As we have reported, the law's employer mandate requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalents to offer "qualified and affordable" health insurance coverage to employees. "Qualified" refers to the mandated coverages in Obamacare statutes; "affordable" is subject to arbitration, based on a business' bottom line and profit margin, but the Democrats who passed the law did not seem concerned about that.
Now, the employer mandate was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, 2014, but the President ordered his Department of Health and Human Services to (unconstitutionally) delay it for another (politically expedient) year for employers with 50-99 full-time or full-time-equivalent workers.
According to Lopez Bauman, the various Obamacare mandates are hurting employers and employees alike.
"Since September of last year, the Illinois Policy Institute has been documenting the loss of hours that could be the result of the new law," she wrote.
Between 2011 and 2013, she says, her state of Illinois -- which is already in economic dire straits -- lost the equivalent of some 63,000 jobs in the retail, restaurant and general merchandise industries, not really industries that pay a fortune to begin with. "That is about the total number of jobs added in all sectors in the state over the past year," Lopez Bauman said.
Reform the reform, but alas, it won't happen anytime soon
All three employment sectors make up about one-fifth of Illinois' total employment. They now have average work hours below 30 hours per week, which is how Obamacare defines "full-time" employment.
But analysts have said that there is growing evidence that the costs related to the health insurance reform law will exceed those of increased premiums and the cancellation of policies now deemed inadequate. "It is difficult to ignore the effects that the law is now having on businesses and their workers," wrote Lopez Bauman.
She recommends going "back to the drawing board" to craft healthcare reform legislation that gives individuals, not federal bureaucrats, more control over their medical care. But when you have presidents and lawmakers who want to ignore real evidence of the damage that their law is doing, we shouldn't be surprised that such appeals are falling on deaf ears.