Dr. Boozman's Check-up

As Congress debates competing plans to get Americans working again, I started a series of blog posts aimed at shining a spotlight on the individual bills that make up “The Jobs Through Growth Act” and how each one will help put our economy on a road to recovery. Today, we look at how a bill to repeal and replace the President's health care law that is included in "The Jobs Through Growth Act" will help the economy.

A “structural break in job growth” is a fancy phrase economists throw around to describe the correlation between a single event and its resulting job-loss.   It may be easier concept to define by describing the most significant example of it in recent times: The passage of President Obama’s health care plan into law.

While the economy was far from booming at the start of 2010, private-sector job creation was recovering from the recession at a normal rate.  Within two months of the passage of the President’s health care law, the job market stopped improving and has yet to regain its footing.

Now this is not to say that the current lack of jobs in America rests solely on the passage of the health care law, but just about any small business owner in the country will tell you the law significantly raises their operating costs and uncertainty about the future.

The consequences of this law impact the job market in the following ways: 

  • Businesses with fewer than 50 workers have a strong incentive to maintain this size.  By doing so, they avoid the mandate to provide government-approved health coverage or face a penalty;

  • Businesses with more than 50 workers will see their costs for health coverage rise.  Many business owners who fall in this category  have already said it is more economically feasible to pay the government fine and drop coverage all together —which will push their employees into the government pool; and

  • It greatly adds to the enormous amount of uncertainty in our economy.  Employers have no idea what the health care market or their health care costs will look like in in the coming years, which makes planning for the future difficult. 

As a former small business owner and a healthcare provider, I understand how to approach the challenge of lowering the crippling costs of quality health care and creating access for all Americans without stifling economic development.  The President’s law is not the answer and we are seeing clearly just how much of a burden it is on our economy.

Early this year in the Senate, we tried to repeal this law, but Majority Leader Harry Reid’s caucus voted to protect the President.  The Jobs Through Growth Act gives us another opportunity to right this wrong by repealing and replacing the President’s health care law.  The comprehensive jobs package I support includes Senator Jim Demint’s bill to repeal the President’s law, which gives us an opportunity to replace it with market-based reforms that actually will contain the rising costs of health care and return some confidence in the economy for our job creators.