Ever since its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) has been under attack by congressional Republicans and its repeal was guaranteed by candidate, now President, Donald Trump. The new president did sign an order on his first day in office mandating that government agencies stall on implementing any provisions of the law that pose a financial burden, but that’s a far cry from repeal.
The reason there has been no repeal attempt is that neither Trump nor the Republicans has a viable alternative to offer that does not either break the bank or cast millions of Americans back into the ranks of the uninsured. And the knock-on effects of repeal are just beginning to be toted up.
In a new report issued Tuesday by the Economic Policy Institute, an independent, nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States, repealing Obamacare would cut federal spending by roughly $109 billion in 2019 and taxes by $70 billion. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Well, that combination would reduce nationwide job growth by almost 1.2 million jobs in 2019. From the EPI report:
That is because the spending cuts would hurt job growth more than the tax cuts would help it. The benefit cuts would come mostly out of the pockets of cash-constrained households that will be likely to significantly cut back their spending in response to lower disposable income, while the tax cuts would disproportionately go to high-income households who tend to save a significant portion of increases in disposable income.
Here are a couple of other major findings from the EPI study. The lost jobs would not be limited to the health care industry because about three-quarters of “high-quality” jobs gained by the Medicare expansions in the Recovery Act of 2009 were not gained in the health care sector.
Second, every state would lose jobs, and the numbers lost would depend on whether a state expanded spending (all the expansion would presumably be lost) and what percentage of the state’s households would be in the group getting the biggest tax cuts.
The top 15 job-losing states, calculated on jobs lost as a share of both total employment and the share of residents under age 65, are: Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
See the EPI website for the full report.