“Obamacare is a job killer”. This is the theme of the latest ads being run against Ron Barber, the Arizona Democrat running to replace Gabby Giffords in Congress. They claim the health care reform bill will result in 249,000 jobs being lost. This number caught my attention because I had read and written about it in the past.
As it turns out, there might be 249,000 fewer people working as a result of Obamacare, but this is actually a good thing. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that hundreds of thousands of Americans will choose to quit working before they turn 65 and get Medicare. Apparently, there are many many people who continue to work into their 60′s just to hold onto employer health insurance. They can afford to retire early, but they would be refused coverage due to a pre-existing conditon, or the cost would be prohibitive due to premium rate ups.
Factcheck.org says the following about “job killing” claims.
The exaggerated Republican claim that the new health care law “kills jobs” was high on our list of the “Whoppers of 2011.” But the facts haven’t stopped Republicans and their allies from making the “job-killing” claim a major theme of their campaign 2012 TV ads:
- Five ads by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attack Democrats by repeating the “Obamacare will kill jobs” refrain.
- Seven other Chamber spots praise Republicans, using the same theme.
- An ad from the group Freedom Path, supporting Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, says the law is “devastating to small business.”
- Republican Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama features a large stack of papers he claims are “job-killing regulations and taxes” in one of his spots.
All of this is health-care hooey, aimed at exploiting public concern over continuing high unemployment, with little basis in fact.
As we’ve said before (a few times), experts project that the law will cause a small loss of low-wage jobs — and also some gains in better-paid jobs in the health care and insurance industries.
It’s also expected that more workers will decide to retire earlier, or work fewer hours, when they no longer need employer-sponsored insurance and can obtain it on their own with help from federal subsidies. But that just means fewer people willing to work — and it will free up jobs for those who want them. If anything, that could reduce the jobless rate.
Conservative groups have come up with their own studies to show how the health care reform law will devastate the economy – just like they did back in the 60′s when they campaigned against Medicare. But most “independent” economic researchers have come to different conclusions.
Politifact.com did their own analysis of the “job killing” claims:
A March 2011 analysis by the Urban Institute — an independent research organization — concurred, concluding that, on balance, the health care law is “unlikely to have major aggregate effects on the U.S. economy and on employment, primarily because the changes in spending and taxes are very small relative to the size of the economy.”