PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS: We read as much as the report as we can. We've listened to briefings on this, but we don't disagree if fewer people are working fewer hours -- more people are working fewer hours, by design, explain in simple terms why that doesn't provide less tax revenue and somehow doesn't hurt the economy if fewer hours are being worked.
JAY CARNEY: First of all, let me just correct you. You asked about the deficit. As the CBO reported yesterday, consistent with what is reported in the past, the CBO projects that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit by a trillion dollars.
In other words, you abolish the ACA and therefore don't have the effect that you are talking about in terms of people choosing not to work or reducing their hours and you jack up the deficit by a trillion dollars. So let's just be clear about the impact on the deficit.
The CBO said yesterday, again, as it has in the past, that the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit over the 20 year window by trillion dollars. One. Two, when it comes to the economic impact, as the head of the CBO said today, there are other factors when it comes to labor force participation and hours and its impact on job creation that are not accounted for in the study. Jason talked about this yesterday.
And I think one hugely significant one is the historic reduction in health care inflation that we've seen. We've had the slowest rate of health care cost growth in 50 years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, which directly contradict those who oppose the Affordable Care Act. Just saying. But it's out there, it's a fact. And that has enormous positive benefits for our businesses, individuals.
If you're projecting -- if you were five years ago, somebody responsible for health care costs, for employer-provided health insurance at a major company and you have to project what those costs would be, you are going to base it on, you know, the consensus estimates of what the growth and health care costs would be for the next 5 or 10 years. You have found out in the interim that you saved a bunch of money because as it turns out the growth has been much slower, and the Affordable Care Act has contributed significantly to that reduction in growth. That in turn has significant positive economic benefit on growth and job creation.
So, again, I think it is impossible to read the CBO report and not recognize that it contains point-by-point rebuttals of a lot of the critiques that we have heard over the years from Republicans about what the Affordable Care Act would do to the economy. The CBO report says specifically, contrary to everything Republicans have said, the Affordable Care Act is not and will not significantly reduce, cause employers to reduce hours, throw people into part-time employment.