Congressman Todd Young gets it wrong: Obama is not a job killer–not in the US–not in Indiana

October 26th, 2016 at 3:49 pm

“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.

Source: BLS, ACA

Source: BLS, ACA

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.

Source: BLS

Source: BLS

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.

Source: BLS

Source: BLS

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.

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7 comments in reply to "Congressman Todd Young gets it wrong: Obama is not a job killer–not in the US–not in Indiana"

  1. J says:


    Could you be more specific as to the BLS program from which these figures came?

  2. Robert Salzberg says:

    The 27 y/o with the projected ‘scary’ 25% increase in insurance premiums for the benchmark plan that makes $25,000 will qualify for a 62% increase in subsidies and will pay $1 less per month for insurance in 2017, (if you factor in the subsidy). The affordable part of the ACA caps insurance costs by linking them to that same benchmark plan so for the 84% of people buying insurance on the exchanges and getting subsidies, their net premiums won’t be affected at all on average.

  3. Smith says:

    What does Indiana have to complain about? If unemployment is 4.5%? Job growth looks good? If you google around and plug the numbers in, there is a problem. Even with very slow state population growth since 2007 the numbers under 3,100,000 doesn’t equal the level before the recession began. That indicates nearly ten years later, recovery is still incomplete, unless you think 2007 represented a vastly overheated economy. Wage growth in the 2000s reputes that narrative. There could be a mysterious sec stag at work, suppressing economic growth. That’s a convenient excuse for those who believe doubling the income share of the 1% (from 10% to 20%) and doubling share of the financial services sector (from 7% to 14%) while shipping good paying jobs overseas doesn’t effect growth.

    However the real story in Indiana is like everywhere else and highlighted on this blog previously. 3% drop in labor force participation, 1% of that not related to demographics, 1 percent of population is around 60,000, add that to unemployment and you bump the 4.5% recovery to 6.5% recession characteristic.

    Excess labor suppresses wages, sales, ripples through like the opposite of a virtuous cycle. Obviously Obamacare is not at fault, but generally presidents do get blamed and rightfully so, for a poor economic performance after eight years. Trump, $160 billion additional deficit spending, and fracking induced oil glut that boosts real wage growth is the one time gift to Democrats. Four years from now, none of these will exist.

  4. SPENCER says:

    Can you find out who the reporter on the radio station was and see that he gets a copy of this analysis?