Type to search

Killing Obamacare Would Kill Jobs

Congress Health Politics US

Killing Obamacare Would Kill Jobs

Obamacare, Healthcare

The Republicans are masters of communication. When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, they have marched in lockstep and spoken with a clear loud voice:

“Obamacare is a job killer!”

Over and over, we heard it. During Mitt Romney’s run for the White House. During the eleventy-million times the US House passed repeal. During the 2016 Republican primary.

Last January, Texas Senator Ted Cruz said: “We have seen now in six years of Obamacare that it has been a disaster. It is the biggest job-killer in this country.” President-elect Donald Trump ran with it. His victory came partly from a vow to kill off that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, job-killing Obamacare.

They were wrong.

Anecdotal evidence suggests a small percentage of small businesses closed up shop, stopped hiring, or laid off workers rather than provide health insurance for employees. But the law did not cause widespread job loss. Since the Great Recession ended, we have seen 70-plus months of steady job gains, most full-time.

So Obamacare is not a job killer.

But killing Obamacare would kill jobs.

If Trump and Congressional Republicans were to repeal without replacing Obamacare, millions of full-time jobs would vanish. Lawmakers would trigger a painful contraction of economic output. And they would send federal expenditures through the roof.

According to the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund, repeal without replacement would cost 2.6 million jobs nationally, $1.5 trillion in Gross State Product and $2.6 trillion in business output. States would lose tax revenues upwards of $48 billion.

In Connecticut, 36,000 jobs could vanish, most in health care but many in other sectors of the economy. Gross State Product could contract by more than $23 billion (GSP was $253 billion in 2015). The state could lose $747 million in tax revenue.

California, with the country’s largest economy, would be hit hardest. Some 334,000 jobs would be lost. Gross State Product would shrink there by more than $208 billion (GSP was $2.48 trillion in 2015). The state could lose $6.8 billion tax revenue.

That’s nothing compared to the human toll. Some 20 million people are now insured under Obamacare (300,000 more this year than last). Ironically, most are from red states. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found a greater number (6.3 million) benefiting from the health care law living in Republican congressional districts, with the highest concentration in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Utah.

Deepening the pain is that repeal would be an annual $7 million tax cut, on average, for America’s top 400 households. In other words, repeal would comfort the healthy and comfortable.

Killing Obamacare would also lead to new federal spending. The law curbs the ballooning cost of Medicare. If you reverse the law, you reverse spending cuts to Medicare. If you reverse spending cuts to Medicare (the federal government’s largest expenditure next to Social Security), spending will soar.

This, in addition to concern for the health and well being on constituents, is why even Tea Party budget-hawks in the House are getting nervous about repeal. After years of longing to slay this shibboleth of the Nanny State, the Republicans could end up triggering a recession while deepening the dread deficit.

But honestly. Republicans already knew that Obamacare was not a job killer. It was not “government-run” health insurance. There never were “death panels.” It was all a big play to win.

We know this because Republicans sometimes tell the truth by accident (a “gaffe” if you will). In 2012, Mitt Romney was asked why he wasn’t giving hardliners the cuts they wanted.

He said: “If you take a trillion dollars out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5 percent. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression.”

I don’t know how Trump and the GOP are going to square this. Maybe they need to come clear. We lied to you, dear voter. Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing. If we do what you ask of us, we’d hurt you — and ourselves.

I’m not holding my breath.

John Stoehr is a lecturer in political science at Yale and a New Haven resident. He can be reached at johnastoehr@gmail.com.



  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 12, 2017

    Methinks the GOP membership is composed of small-minded men and women who no longer have the capacity for reasoning, intuition, and basic intelligence. Since they represent those who keep voting them into office, one has to conclude that such voters have the same deficit.
    ACA a job-killer? This is the product of the thinking of numbskulls to reach such a preposterous generalized decision. Or maybe they are all so decimated in their hearts and minds as a result of an irrational hate for President Obama that they’re prevented from thinking clearly as a result of the bile accumulated in their systems as a result.
    We are left with the obvious, that the GOP, and their emperor, Trump, no longer are capable of rational thought and decision-making. The Eugenics Society of the 1950’s would have had the parents of current GOP malcontents sterilized if they had shown the same mental deficits and anti-social sentiments as the GOP display.

    Leaving Americans w/o healthcare simply out of an urge to continue showing contempt for the outgoing President, is the sign of sub-creatures motivated primarily by hate, a racial animus, blind obedience to a decadent political ideology, and just butt-naked rancor.
    There is no 4-legged creature as debased as the GOP.

    1. Dan S January 13, 2017

      What a heavy price we’ll all pay if the GOP and Trump get their way and repeal the ACA. In addition to millions of Americans losing their healthcare we’ll be left with a trillion dollars in new debt by the end of this decade. All this just so Republicans can deny President Obama a lasting legacy

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 13, 2017

        Indeed. Only a moron would fail to see the linkage between lack of healthcare and the attendant drain on local and regional health providers, reduce productivity substantially, and most important, deprive people of a basic fundamental human right. The fallacy of associating providing care for others with “socialism” is abject mockery of what it means to be a human being, something so-called Christians in America have lost sight of. Many Protestants in England back in the early 19th Century had the general attitude that providing assistance to those starving in Ireland would violate their deformed notion of Christianity, by asserting that relief to Irish would be a drain on the economy—and besides, as Trevelyan often stated, and I paraphrase…”The Irish Famine if a chastisement for the Irish being Catholic…”, and therefore, aside from the fiscal angle, shouldn’t be interfered with.

        (Refer to “The Famine Plot” for the full and despicable details).

    2. dpaano January 13, 2017

      So true, Aaron. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m copying your comment and I’m sending it to my Congresswomen, Kamala Harris and Feinstein. I KNOW they are not on the boat to repeal the ACA in any way, and maybe this will be something they can use to pass on our displeasure!!

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 13, 2017

        Please do, and you can take full credit because your instincts are aligned with mine.

  2. TKList January 12, 2017

    Getting people to quit smoking would kill jobs as well.

    1. Darsan54 January 12, 2017

      And your point is ??? It would also kill a few less people. Some would have more money to spend in the economy.

      1. Jmz Nesky January 13, 2017

        Yeah, more money to spend on health care premiums once ACA is gutted but then the Repugs would have to substitute another [no tax] charge to take the place of what they draw in from the [not tax] cigarette [tax?] penalty. As far as killing less people.. It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other when it comes to the cigarette vs no more affordable health care reality.

  3. Jmz Nesky January 13, 2017

    Yes, killing the ACA [and it is known as ACA] would kill millions of jobs across the nation but no one knows the logic of Trump and the Republican party.. Killing what they call Obamacare would create thousands of jobs across the nation in processing those millions of unemployed workers.. That’s thousands of jobs that Trump promised he would create.. Kinda gives one the feeling he’s making America great again, huh?

    1. dpaano January 13, 2017

      Yeah, the Unemployment Offices would have to hire tons of agents to process claims….I can see it now! It won’t be pretty and it’s going to cost each state a ton of money having to pay these claims after losing the tax monies they received from the ACA!

      1. Jmz Nesky January 14, 2017

        Yep, this is the only way Trump will be able to create jobs.. Keep mum on the jobs he destroys then brag about the jobs that are created from the jobs he destroyed.. No corporate capitalist in their right mind would re-locate back here because Trump asks them, they know he’s nothing but a lying con man too.

  4. sarah.zwilling January 13, 2017

    Analyse following report to figure out how an individual mother was able to generate $89,844/year in her free time on her personal pc without selling anything>>>

  5. dpaano January 13, 2017

    What’s really interesting is that the people that need Obamacare the most….those in rural areas in the Rust Belt….will be the ones most affected by the repeal of Obamacare! I don’t know if this is what they assumed when they kept pushing for it’s repeal during Trump’s campaign. If so, they are totally uninformed about the good that Obamacare has done for this country. They will not only cause themselves big problems, but they are going to cause major problems for the rest of the nation, the job market, the budget, the deficit, etc. They need to get informed QUICKLY and stop this ridiculous idea. Yes, Obamacare could use some “tweeks” here and there, but a total repeal, even a partial repeal without replacement, will be very damaging!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.