Connecting health care and jobs

CONNECTING HEALTH CARE AND JOBS…. In a great example of farcical rhetoric, House Republicans have named their health care bill the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” as part of a silly campaign to argue the law is responsible for job losses.

Just at the surface level, the charge is transparently false. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs. Roughly a fifth of that total — more than 200,000 — were jobs created in the health care industry. If GOP rhetoric were true, these jobs wouldn’t have been created.

For that matter, a report published by Harvard economist David Cutler helped prove that Republicans have it backwards — repealing the law could cost 250,000 to 400,000 jobs per year over the next decade.

McClatchy’s David Lightman took a closer look at the debate, and reports today, “Despite what Republicans say, the 2010 health care law isn’t necessarily a job killer.”

House Republicans defend their job-killer claim in a 19-page Jan. 6 report, “ObamaCare: A Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health Care Law.” But some of its points are out of date or omit offsetting information that would weaken the argument. […]

In short, no one knows the economic impact of the law for sure, and most independent experts think that condemning it as a job-killer is hard to justify.

Imagine that.

What’s more, Steven Pearlstein noted last week, “Since the immediate impact of the measure will be to allow 30 million more Americans the chance to buy drugs and medical services from doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, it’s hard to imagine a more effective way to reduce employment in the one sector that is actually adding jobs.”

I don’t doubt these pesky details — i.e., reality — will stand in the way of Republican talking points, but it’s worth remembering that the single most common talking point repeal proponents will repeat this week is demonstrably ridiculous. They know this, but they’ll repeat it anyway, because if there’s one consistency to Republicans’ health care rhetoric, it’s their willingness to deceive the public.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.