Donald Lambro

The latest revelations now further threaten Democratic lawmakers with widespread retaliation from the voters in the 2014 midterm elections. And there were new signs this week that many of Obamacare's once-stalwart defenders were distancing themselves from the controversial law.

The Washington Post, one of the law's most enthusiastic defenders, reported Wednesday that when the CBO report came out, "few Democrats publicly defended the law, a sign that lawmakers recognize its vulnerability."

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York said at the House Budget Committee hearing on the report that CBO's findings triggered "hysteria" on his side of the aisle.

Maybe that's why Obama devoted a mere 462 words to his signature law in his State of the Union speech that was 6,778 words long -- despite one administrative disaster after another.

CBO tried to steer a middle course through its thorny economic forecasts. It insisted that businesses would not significantly cut employment rolls or reduce hours work to stay under a 30 hour threshold to avoid providing workers with health care benefits. No one believes that except its most ardent defenders.

But CBO does forecast long-term employment trouble ahead in future years, saying Obamacare will result in the economy losing 2.3 million full-time workers by 2021. That is almost three times its earlier estimates.

Then there are the wildly exaggerated estimates by the administration on the number of Americans who've signed up for Obamacare and its expanded Medicaid program.

For example, the administration claims that 6.3 million Americans became eligible for Medicaid between October and December because of the new law. But a study by the health-care industry consulting firm Avalere Health found a much smaller number (between 1 or 2 million) actually signed up because of the Obamacare law.

Many were renewals in the usual ebb and flow of the Medicaid enrollment population that have more to do with rising or falling incomes, the study found. Judith Solomon, vice president of health policy at the Center on Budget ad Policy Priorities, told the Post that Avalere's numbers were likely more accurate than the administration's figures.

One of the biggest and most politically explosive issues raised by the CBO report became lost in all of the mumbo-jumbo murkiness of its findings.

It was left to Paul Ryan to lay bare one of Obamacare's worst offenses, that it will hurt many millions of Americans, especially the poorest, most vulnerable in our economy.

At one key point in the hearing, Ryan bored deeper into Obamacare's many flaws, asking CBO's Elmendorf that if the new law would reduce the labor participation rate, as he says, wouldn't it therefore hurt economic growth?

Elmendorf agreed that, yes, that would happen.

But there were broader problems in CBO's estimates, according to the University of Maryland's business school economist Peter Morici.

The impact would be worse than CBO forecasts.

"CBO once again low-balls the impact of the Affordable Care Act on labor force participation and the economy," he writes in his analysis of their report. The economic growth rate "and employment for most workers will be harmed," he said.

But this is just the tip of the economic iceberg that lies beneath Obamacare. Higher, unbreakable poverty rates, disincentives to work, and a shrinking American work force that will further weaken our sluggish economy are just the beginning of what awaits us under this harmful law.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.