House Republicans are poised to pass their first major legislation of the new Congress, the aggressively named "Repealing The Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." A group of Republican economists and policy wonks stand by the "job killing" claim, but fact-checkers at the AP and McClatchy found little evidence to back up the charge. Do Republicans have a persuasive case that the Democrats' health-care reform law will cost America hundreds of thousands of jobs? (Watch Rep. Chuck Fleischmann argue for the repeal)
The "job killing" charge is "demonstrably ridiculous": The GOP's "farcical" claim that health-care reform will lead to job losses is "transparently false," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. Since Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the health care industry has added more than 200,000 jobs. "If GOP rhetoric were true, these jobs wouldn't have been created." In fact, independent experts say that if anything, "Republicans have it backwards": Repealing the law could kill hundreds of thousands of jobs a year.
"Connecting health care and jobs"
Republicans are just using common sense: The health care law ups the "expected cost of labor" by forcing employers to cover health benefits, says John C. Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis in an op-ed piece for USA Today. And "most people intuitively know" that higher labor costs equals less money to spend on employees. Higher-level workers won't like the resulting "wage stagnation," but the law will be "devastating" for the working poor, many of whom will lose their jobs.
"High labor costs = Fewer jobs"
The problem is medical costs, not jobs: The law should have "minimal" impact on the workforce, except to continue "the shift of jobs into medical areas," say the editors of USA Today. That doesn't mean the law can't be improved, though; its real shortcoming is its failure to address the spiraling cost of health care. "Slapping the 'job killing' label on the repeal bill is an effort to avoid making tough decisions" about that.
"Calling it a 'job killer' doesn't make it so"
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