“It’s a real job killer…It’s no wonder we’re not growing more jobs in this country.”
So spoke Indiana Republican Congressman Todd Young last week referring to the employment impact of the Affordable Care Act. To be clear, in the interest of sanity, I don’t listen to every debate, but I happen to be driving around and, to my great misfortune, heard this on the radio.
Mr. Young’s position flies in the face of the facts. As I’ve documented in detail, there’s no evidence to support his claim, and much evidence to the contrary. I’ll go through a bit of it again, but consider the fact that we’re in the midst of the longest stretch of total job growth on record, the ACA has clearly boosted jobs in the health sector, and the Federal Reserve is threatening to tap the interest-rate brake because they’re worried that we’re too close to full employment (I think such a brake-tap would be misguided, but their action makes it kinda tough to argue Young’s case).
In my earlier piece, I showed the absence of a correlation between the ACA’s state-level penetration, proxied by changes in coverage, and job growth. Here is one of the slides that shows which dot corresponds to Indiana. It’s right on the best fit line, which ftr, slopes up—more coverage, more job growth—precisely the opposite of Young’s statements.
The next figure shows a simple plot of job growth in Indiana with lines when different components of the ACA went into effect. Indiana, to their credit, accepted the Medicaid expansion in February of 2015. The employment trend continues unabated.
Finally, there’s this figure of job growth in the state’s health sector. These state-level data are noisy but the upward trend is clear, which makes sense given that the ACA helped to increase health coverage for 275,000 Hoosiers between 2013 and 2015.
BTW, you know that big dust-up the other day about how the average 2017 premium for the benchmark plan is projected to go up 25% next year? Not only does that number ignore the impact of both premium tax credits and the considerable amount of shopping consumers do, but most states also clock in well below that average. Indiana is one of ten states – all of which have adopted the Medicaid expansion – to project an increase of less than 7%, and one of the two states that projects a decrease (of -3%).
In other words, the ACA is covering citizens of the state without adversely impacting employment while premium costs in Indiana are bucking the national trend to the downside.
If you go from these facts to “job killer,” you should probably get your vision checked.