Friday, February 22, 2013

Health Care Is Not A Job Killer

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam furthers this Republican talking point on health care.

The expansion of Medicaid in FL does not create jobs or strengthen our infrastructure. And it will cost cost Florida $5B over the next 10 years

Why is Putnam tying Medicaid to infrastructure. I would love Putnam to explain why he is tying health care for the poor to building new roads. As for Putnam's jobs claim, Putnam needs to read a book on economics. More people getting access to health care creates the need to hire more doctors, nurses and medical technicians. Jonathan Gruber made a good case on how the health care industry will need to hire people to meet the demand of 30 million new health care customers.

By now, most people who follow politics know that the law will result in more than 30 million additional Americans getting health insurance. But what few realize is that, by expanding insurance coverage, the law will also increase economic activity. These newly insured individuals will demand more medical care then when they were uninsured. And while it takes many years to train a family phyician or nurse practitioner, it doesn't take much time to train assistants and technicians (and related supporting staff) who can fill much of this need. In many cases, these are precisely the sort of medium-skill jobs that our economy desperately needs-and that the health care sector has already been providing, even during the recession

More immediately, the increase in economic security for American families will also mean an increase in consumer spending. Many uninsured consumers are forced to set aside money in low interest liquid accounts to make sure they have enough to cover unexpected medical costs. With the security provided by health insurance, they can free that money up for consumption that is much more valuable to them. When the federal government expanded Medicaid in the 1990s, my own research has shown, the newly insured significantly increased their spending on consumer goods. More purchases of consumer goods will provide short-run stimulation to the economy and more hiring.

The likely reason the Obama administration never countered the Republican "job killer" attacks is because the Affordable Care Act was designed to make money for the health care industry. That is why Mitt Romney signed Romneycare into Massachusetts state law.

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