President Barack Obama insisted that a government shutdown would harm the economy far worse than his signature health care law -- a law he said that opponents will take credit for one day.
“Once it's working really well, I guarantee you, they will not call it Obamacare,” Obama told a crowd in Largo, Md. Thursday. “Here is a prediction for you. A few years from now, when people are using this to get coverage, everybody is feeling good about the choices they've got, there are going to be a whole bunch of folks that will say, yeah, yeah, I always thought this provision was excellent. I voted for that thing. You watch. It will not be called Obamacare.”
Last week, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution fully funding the government except for Obamacare. This week, the Democratic Senate passed the same measure but included Obamacare. If the House and Senate can't reconcile a bill to fund the government for three months by Oct. 1, the non-essential functions of the federal government will shut down.
US President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act at Prince Georges Community College on September 26, 2013 in Largo, Maryland. On October 1, 2013, open enrollment starts for the new Obamacare online, state-based exchanges, where consumers will be able to compare and shop for private health insurance plans.Credit: AFP/Getty Images
“We all know it would badly damage the economy,” Obama said. “Whatever effect Obamacare might have on the economy is far less than even a few days of government shutdown. Even if you believe that Obamacare will somehow hurt the economy, it won't hurt the economy as bad as a government shut down. By the way, the evidence is that Obamacare is not going to hurt the economy, it's going to help the economy.”
Health economist Devon Herrick, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, said it is a difficult comparison.
“It's comparing apples to oranges. Once has a bigger impact down the road, the other would have an impact right now,” Herrick told TheBlaze. “It's a rhetorical comparison, not a analytical comparison.”
The health care law would have the long term effect on most individuals and companies, Herrick said, while a government shutdown would impact some federal employees, certain government contractors and localities with large government work forces.
“It you are attaching additional mandates and spending to companies and individuals it will affect the economy, and it will increase the amount we owe to China," he said. “If you furlough federal employees, if I'm a federal employee I need to pay my bills. Some towns and regions will be impacted more than others.”