In spite of conservative doomsday prophecies that the Affordable Care Act would be fiscally devastating, resulting in both job cuts and reduced hours, the reality is that this universal insurance actually helps the market function more efficiently. Dr. Maxim Pinkovsky, a leading economist from the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, has published a research paper that explores the effect of microeconomics on health care policy. The report offers that the ACA has had either no discernible effect on workers or a positive one, and that after 2013, when the law went into effect, job growth rose “substantially.”
“Counties with large fractions of uninsured (and therefore a large exposure to the ACA) before the enactment or the implementation of the ACA experienced more rapid employment and salary growth than did counties with smaller fractions of people uninsured,” Pinkovsky’s findings state. This is basically saying that the economy and employment were on the up—the ACA did not affect this, thus confirming previous findings by the Congressional Budget Office which deemed there was “no compelling evidence” to prove companies were shifting full-time employees to part-time and reducing hours overall in order to avoid footing an insurance bill.
This was a particular concern about larger firms—those with over fifty full-time employees who would be required to pay for healthcare. As this study has proven, there was no negative impact along these lines. The report concludes it is “very unlikely that the ACA substantially reduced employment in the areas that could expect to be most affected by it.” Pinkovsky references Texas to substantiate this claim; job growth rose in Texas after 2013, which was after ACA had passed.
ACA has also made it easier for workers to switch jobs—previously if an employee had a pre-existing condition, insurance companies were allowed to discriminate against them, which often meant they felt forced to stay in their current position; known as “job lock.” As ACA has prevented this, employees are now able to move through jobs more frequently or even go into business themselves; this has led to increased market efficiency, as Pinkovsky points out.
Though Pinkovsky recognizes that the ACA’s “long-run impact on the U.S. economy remains to be seen,” it is clear that the ACA is the best option available to provide care to the greatest amount of Americans with care, and Pinkovsky’s study confirms that the ACA has boosted, not harmed job growth — which should put all of the Republican lies about Obamacare to rest.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.