Republicans who are gearing up to repeal the health care reform bill are trying to make the case that health care reform is bad for jobs. They even named the repeal bill the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”. Now they are claiming that 650,000 jobs will be lost as a result of HCR, based on an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
But the actual estimate by the CBO is that a small number of people — around half a percent — will choose to leave their jobs voluntarily. As economist Paul Fronstin put it “People voluntarily working less isn’t the same as employers cutting jobs”. Or economist Paul Van de Water, who says “The number doesn’t mean what they say it means”.
These are people who are stuck in a job they don’t want but stay there because they need health insurance. I personally know a couple of people in that position — they hate their current job but can’t leave because they would lose their health insurance. Some of these people are close to retirement age, but are waiting until they become eligible for Medicare. Some are younger and want to start a company, but can’t because they need health insurance.
So the Republicans take this report and twist it around 180 degrees and call it “jobs lost”, but in reality it should more accurately be called jobs gained! After all, if someone voluntarily gives up their job, that obviously means there is likely a job opening for someone else. And not only that, but the company that trades a worker who hates their job but stays there for the health insurance for someone who actually wants the job probably gains a more productive worker. It’s a win-win!
Not to mention those people who will be able to leave their current jobs to start new companies. Think of how many new jobs that will create.
Of course, the only job loss that these politicians care about is losing their own jobs. But in their world, black is white, and jobs gained is jobs lost. And some people will believe them.
UPDATE: Good news. Republican and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says that Republicans should drop their efforts to repeal the current HCR bill and instead build on the current legislation:
It is the law of the land and it is the platform, the fundamental platform, upon which all future efforts to make that system better, for that patient, for that family, will be based. And that is a fact. I know the discussion of Washington is repeal and I’m sure we will come back to that discussion … [The bill] has many strong elements. And those elements, whatever happens, need to be preserved, need to be cuddled, need to be snuggled, need to be promoted and need to be implemented.
Frist also said the current bill was “beautiful on paper” and that Republicans should “love” the fact it adopts a “federalism” approach to health care. Note that Frist made his fortune from the family-founded for-profit hospital chain Hospital Corporation of America.
UPDATE 2: As usual, let’s give Jon Stewart the (hilarious) last word on this: