Saturday, January 21, 2017

300,000 Lost Jobs

A column by Elizabeth Harrington at The Washington Free Beacon gives at least partial insight into why Republicans are so insistent that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, i.e. Obamacare) be repealed and replaced with something better:
The American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute, released findings Wednesday that rising premiums and regulations under the Affordable Care Act have had “dire” consequences for the labor market.

The report found the law has cost $19 billion in lost wages per year and forced 10,000 small businesses establishments to close their doors. The study covered employers with 20 to 99 employees.

“Research from the American Action Forum (AAF) finds regulations from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are driving up health care premiums and are costing small business employees at least $19 billion in lost wages annually,” the report said. “These figures varied by state, but in 2015 the ACA cost year-round workers $2,095, $2,134, and $2,260 in Ohio, New York, and North Dakota, respectively.”

“Premium increases, a prospect regulators predicted when issuing the first ACA regulations, also significantly diminished the number of business establishments and jobs nationwide,” the report said. “Across the country, small businesses (20-99 workers) lost 295,030 jobs, 10,130 business establishments, and $4.7 billion in total wage earnings. Florida lost 17,950 jobs; Ohio lost 19,000; Pennsylvania lost 15,680; and Texas lost 28,010 jobs due to higher sensitivity to rising health care premiums and the ACA.”
If the report she bases her column on is accurate then the ACA has been a disaster for the middle class in America. She goes on to write this:
Before Obamacare became law, workers still saw an increase in their average weekly pay when health insurance premiums went up.

“After the ACA became law, however, a one percent increase in total premiums was associated with a 0.012 percent decrease in average weekly pay,” the report said.

The numbers add up to roughly $3.9 billion in lost wages for small businesses with between 20 and 49 workers, which account for 20 million workers in the United States. The average worker for those businesses has lost $1,202 in annual pay.

Aside from wage losses and job cuts, Obamacare has cost the economy $51 billion and added 172 million hours of paperwork through regulations, the American Action Forum said.
There must be a better way to achieve an equitable health insurance system without imposing regulations that have contributed to at least $19 billion in lost wages, 10,000 fewer businesses, and nearly 300,000 lost jobs. The challenge for Republicans will be to come up with a better system and get it passed in the face of resistance from Democrats who will be loath to undo the ACA which they devised and passed without a single Republican vote in 2010 and which forms the linchpin of Mr. Obama's presidential legacy.