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Adam Aigner-Treworgy CNN White House Producer
Published: 30 July 2013

(CNN) -- The White House is continuing to push back against a barrage of criticism and some recent bad press about the effect of President Obama's health care law on the overall economy.

In a nearly hour-long briefing for health care reporters on Monday, a senior White House official clicked through PowerPoint slides filled with graphs showing ways in which the current economic recovery is stronger than its predecessors, and used that data to debunk claims that the Affordable Care Act has been a drag on the U.S. economy.

In recent weeks, Republicans and other critics of the legislation now commonly known as Obamacare have claimed that the bill is causing U.S. employers to delay hiring and scale back the hours of full-time workers.

Using trends starting with passage of the ACA, the official argued that rates of job growth in both industries that are likely to offer health insurance and less likely to offer health insurance has either exceeded or matched that of previous economic recoveries. The official highlighted the restaurant industry in particular as a sector that has far outpaced others in both hiring and increases in hours worked by its employees.

This, the official argued, runs counter to anecdotal stories seen in recent media reports that restaurants are scaling back hours due to the ACA. The official warned against drawing a broader conclusion from such stories, explaining that the provision on part-time employees affects less than 1% of all workers.

Most of the provisions of the ACA have yet to be implemented, and Monday's briefing featured entirely historical data. The official balked when asked to project future economic effects of the legislation, but said that if implementation goes smoothly, and more states begin buying into its coverage-expansion provisions, there's no reason to expect the positive trends couldn't continue.

Chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisors Alan Krueger also authored a blog post on the White House website to argue that the rise in health care costs is slowing.

"Prices for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) on health care goods and services rose just 1.1 percent over the twelve months ending in May 2013, the slowest rate of increase in nearly 50 years," Krueger wrote. He goes on to cite a recent study released by the Department of Health and Human Services, and numbers from the Congressional Budget Office and the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show similar trends.

"Data from across the economy - covering consumers, government, and private employers - point to the same conclusion: health care cost growth has slowed," Krueger concludes.

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