Political Notebook: What the report said

February 7, 2014 

A Congressional Budget Office report was falsely or incompletely portrayed by media and politicos alike. Among them was an attack on U.S. Rep. John Barrow by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which wants the Democrat out of office. The NRCC said that “according to the CBO, ObamaCare will push 2 million American workers out of the labor market by 2017.” The attack was titled “New Budget Outlook Says ObamaCare Is Hurting Workers.” Another news release from the office of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson was titled, “Isakson Responds to CBO Report Detailing the Job-Killing Effects of Obamacare.”

The actual report, however, says the equivalent of 2 million full-time workers will leave the workforce simply because they’re not willing to work as much, not because they’re being forced out by a terrible insurance program. The report does not describe jobs being killed. Part of the changes are what pushes the employment in a different direction are insurance subsidies that become more attractive the lower a person’s income. The CBO says the biggest group of people affected will be lower-income people who can’t get employer-based health insurance.

There are plenty of nuances in the report. To see the report, visit tinyurl.com/cboobamacare online.

In other health care news ...

Kaiser Health News says two regions of Georgia are among the nation’s 10 worst areas for health insurance affordability. The cheapest “silver”-grade Obamacare plan would cost $461 a month in a southwest Georgia area that includes Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Dougherty, Lee, Mitchell, Randolph, Schley, Sumter, Terrell and Worth counties.

It would cost $423 per month in a nearby Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Colquitt, Cook, Decatur, Early, Echols, Grady, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Miller, Seminole, Thomas, Tift and Turner counties.

The rates were quoted for a 40-year-old person. A Kaiser Health News story published in collaboration with The Washington Post pointed to low competition, with a single dominant hospital system and a single insurer, as well as costly chronic problems such as obesity and cancer. The story says people in southwest Georgia pay double the rates of residents of metro Atlanta.

Houston candidates sought

Qualifying for Houston County nonpartisan offices, a special election for the Board of Education and independent candidates will begin at 9 a.m. March 3 and end at noon March 7. Qualifying will be held at the Houston County Board of Elections office in the Houston County Government Building, 801 Main St., Room 237, Perry. Partisan candidates will qualify that same week but would need to qualify through their party.

The primary election for partisan seats is scheduled for May 20, with a general election Nov. 4. A special election and nonpartisan elections are also scheduled for May 20.

Partisan seats include the county commission chairman and County Commission Post 2 seats, now held by Tommy Stalnaker and Jay Walker, respectively, as well as the State Court clerk’s seat held by Kendra Simons.

The special election is for the Board of Education seat held by Rick Unruh, who was appointed to the unexpired term of Tom Walmer last March.

Nonpartisan posts include three Board of Education seats held by Chairwoman Marianne Melnick, Fred Wilson and Jim Maddox, as well as the State Court judge seat held by Jason Ashford.

For more information, call the Board of Election at 987-1973.

Scott appearances

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, an Ashburn Republican who represents much of Middle Georgia in the 8th Congressional District, has scheduled mobile office hours for his staff. They include Eastman, from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Murrell Memorial Library, 531 2nd Ave.; and Gray, from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Jones County Government Center, 166 Industrial Blvd.

Risky resume

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue was hyping his midstate ties, including being born in Macon and growing up in Warner Robins. He left Middle Georgia for college, though, to get an engineering degree at Georgia Tech. Told he ought to be careful about mentioning that around a state with so many University of Georgia fans, Perdue agreed.

“Trust me, I say that very quickly,” he said.

Writer Mike Stucka compiled this report.

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