The health care law that stole Christ­mas

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

Ac­cord­ing to the Con­fer­ence Board, an im­por­tant eco­nomic in­di­ca­tor, the con­sumer-con­fi­dence in­dex, fell to 71.2 in Oc­to­ber, from a re­vised 80.2 in Septem­ber. Con­fer­ence Board spokes­woman Lynn Franco wrote, “Con­sumer con­fi­dence de­te­ri­o­rated con­sid­er­ably as the fed­eral gov­ern­ment shut­down and debt­ceil­ing cri­sis took a par­tic­u­larly large toll on con­sumers’ ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Did the sur­vey of con­sumer con­fi­dence in­ten­tion­ally over­look the mil­lions of dis­il­lu­sioned con­sumers who were un­able to sign up for insurance cov­er­age on the dys­func­tional Health­care. gov web­site? No, it’s not part of the con­sumer-con­fi­dence sur­vey. Yet if it was re­ported in an eco­nomic in­di­ca­tor, the drop in con­sumer con­fi­dence would be stag­ger­ing. This makes it very likely that mil­lions of con­sumers who were un­able to se­cure health care cov­er­age are dis­il­lu­sioned and maybe even fear­ful about not hav­ing insurance cov­er­age in Jan­uary.

Can we ex­pect th­ese fear­ful con­sumers to re­con­sider their dis­cre­tionary spend­ing? Yes, we can. Th­ese dis­il­lu­sioned con­sumers are likely to scale back on hol­i­day shop­ping and travel. If this hap­pens, it will be cap­tured in the re­port­ing of lag­ging eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors, mak­ing the Health­care.gov web­site gl­itch the Grinch who stole Christ­mas. MARK M. SPRADLEY Chevy Chase

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