Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Will Healthcare Reform Create Jobs?

The Center for American Progress, searching for inventive ways to spin Obama-style national health insurance, argues that the sort of healthcare legislation it supports would create at least 2.5 million new jobs in the next decade.

Now of course, it is common knowledge that healthcare is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy. A 2004 study from the US Department of Labor, for example, found that six of the ten fastest-growing occupations through 2012 will be were health-related. (For the record, those fast-growing categories are, medical assistant, physician assistant, home health aide, medical records assistant, physical therapist assistant, and physical therapist aide.)

So is that what Center for American Progress has in mind? The expansion of those kinds of jobs, or others in the health field? No, not at all. Instead, the CAP asserts that Obamacare will lower healthcare costs and thus make it easier for firms to hire new employees. One might first note that CAP should be careful with such a line of reasoning, because if the left gets in the habit of admitting that lowering burdens on business is a way to increase hiring--well, who knows where that line of thinking could end up.

And of course, one might further note that not everyone agrees that Obamacare will lower healthcare costs. For example, according to a survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management, a full 71 percent of employees think that Obamacare will raise their costs, not reduce them.

But second, we might note that CAP seems completely uninterested in the healthcare sector itself as a source of jobs. Consider the CAP argument:

A more optimistic view of health reform recognizes its potential to improve the efficiency of the U.S. health care system. More efficient health care will lower the burden of health insurance premiums for firms, and in turn allow them to hire more workers. This will also increase the number of jobs and at the same time reduce the financial woes of those struggling with uninsurance and a depressed labor market.

We found in a recent analysis that the reduction in health insurance premiums caused by health care reform would create between 2.5 million to 4 million additional jobs over the next 10 years, at a rate of 250,000 to 400,000 per year. This study extends those results to show how many jobs health care reform would create in each state.

No mention that I could find, anywhere in the CAP post, of the actual existence of the healthcare sector itself, or its employment. Yet as we have learned by now, the left has such an eagerness to enact national health insurance--or, maybe, such an aversion to medicine--that now ignores even the mere thought that anybody would make a living in the healthcare field. Roll over, Hippocrates.

But as noted here at the SMS in the past, if the goal is to get the economy out of a recession, it doesn't make much sense to provoke a recession in one of the biggest sector of that same economy.


  1. I expect there would be a tremendous increase in government employed paper shufflers, hired to take care of all the forms.