Pence’s claims on ACA and jobs fall apart under scrutiny

In early December, during the presidential transition process, Mike Pence told ABC News, “[W]e’re working on President-Elect Trump’s commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s all going to begin right out of the gate by repealing this disastrous policy that’s been killing jobs.” Yesterday, the Republican vice president said something similar, calling the Affordable Care Act “a job killer.”

There are some reality-based criticisms of the ACA, pointing to legitimate areas where the law could be changed, but Pence’s argument isn’t one of them.

Let’s revisit our previous coverage, looking anew at how the data has changed since the last time the vice president got this wrong. As regular readers may recall, in 2014, the first full year of ACA implementation, job growth reached a 15-year high. In fact, the first two years of ACA implementation were the best back-to-back years for job creation since the 1990s.

But we can go a little further with this. Forbes’ Dan Diamond made a great observation, which inspired the above chart, noting private-sector employment in the United States over the last eight years. The red line shows the final two years of the Bush/Cheney era, as the private sector shed jobs; the light blue line shows the first year of the Obama era, when the Great Recession started to end; and the hard blue line shows March 2010 through the present.
 
As Diamond added a while back, “Obamacare was signed into law in March 2010. The private sector hasn’t lost jobs since.”

This continues to be true. The U.S. economy created over 2.2 million jobs in 2016, which was the sixth consecutive year in which we’ve crossed the 2 million threshold. The last time Americans saw a six-year stretch like this was also the late 1990s.

I realize that Pence and his allies find this terribly inconvenient. It’s important to Republicans that the public see “Obamacare” as a “jobs killer,” but reality keeps getting in the way.

Which is why it’s annoying when the vice president sticks to discredited talking points anyway.

Affordable Care Act, Mike Pence, Obamacare and Rachel Maddow Show Charts

Pence's claims on ACA and jobs fall apart under scrutiny