One year after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, disagreements remain over whether the controversial measure will create jobs, or destroy them.
A report published this week by a left-leaning policy think tank contradicted Republican claims that the law will exacerbate unemployment rates - but it also undercut the assertion by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that the law will create jobs.
"The basic conclusion is that the ACA will not have a noticeable effect on net levels of employment," the report, released by the Urban Institute, a self-described nonpartisan institute, reads. Federal spending, when measured against the size of the economy, is fairly low, the report argues. And though Republicans have argued the law will hurt small businesses, the study says its impact on that sector of the economy will be "minimal."
Republicans marking the one year anniversary of the health care law Wednesday did not share the study's minimalist take on the impact of the law."They not only have not created jobs, they've lost 800,000," Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said on FOX News, citing testimony by Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf the law would reduce the number of available jobs."The nearly $813 billion in tax increases in the legislation makes it difficult for companies affected to hire new workers or invest in innovation, technology, and research," said Ohio Senator Rob Portman, also citing the CBO estimate.
The Urban Institute analysis predicts that though the health care law does have the potential to cause job losses, they will ultimately be offset by employment increases triggered by other provisions.
"The tax provisions in the law will reduce the demand for labor in many sectors and the Medicare cuts by themselves would reduce employment in the health sector," the study reads, "But the expansion of coverage through Medicaid and income-related subsidies in the exchanges would have the opposite effect on spending and employment."Lauding the health care law's passage on the eve of its one year anniversary, Rep. Nancy Pelosi cited job creation as one of its hallmark benefits. "We enacted legislation that extends health care coverage to 32 million more Americans and lowers health care costs, while creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and reducing the deficit," she said in a release Tuesday.
But if the Urban Institute report enumerated the ways the law could create jobs, it brushed aside any claim that the gain would be measurable."It is almost impossible for the ACA to have a significant effect on the overall economy or on unemployment simply because the effect of net new federal spending on health care...is very small relative to the size of the economy," the report said.