White House: Obamacare didn’t help in 1st quarter as much as we thought

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After earlier hailing Obamacare for propping up the economy in the first quarter, President Obama’s top economic adviser said Wednesday that weaker-than-expected spending on health care contributed to a bad first quarter.

Jason Furman, chairman of the White House council of economic advisers, said the revised economic contraction of 2.9 percent “was concentrated in two areas: consumer spending on health care services and net exports.”

The Department of Labor on Wednesday revised down the spending on health care services in the first quarter by 1.2 percentage points, contributing to the worst economic quarter since 2009.

In April, Mr. Furman had said Obamacare spurred consumer spending on health care at annual rate of 9.9 percent in the first quarter and “helped strengthen the economy.” Initially, the government said gross domestic product rose in the first quarter by 0.1 percent.

The White House, and many economists, continue to blame the severe winter weather for the contracting economic output in the first quarter.

Republicans seized on the new report as further evidence that Mr. Obama’s policies aren’t working. GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown of New Hampshire said the performance is “unacceptable” and said Obamacare is hurting the economy.

“The mandate that goes into effect in January requiring businesses to provide health insurance to employees is bad for jobs and bad for the economy,” he said in a statement.

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