One of my favorite Dick Morris stories comes from September 2011, when he wrote a column
for The Hill
about the Affordable Care Act. The Republican strategist noted that a recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that "the economy lost 30,000 healthcare jobs" the previous month, which Morris said was proof that the health care industry "is traumatized and terrified by the impact of ObamaCare."
There was just one problem: the economy had added
30,000 health care jobs the previous month. Morris was confused and read the report wrong
, basing an entire column on a statistic that was the opposite of reality. (The Hill
never ran a correction.)
This came to mind the other day looking at the remarkable recent growth
in health care jobs.
If there was a direct impact of the ACA on the labor force, you'd expect to see it in the health care space. Health care's always gaining jobs, but the sector just had its best month in history: 51,200 jobs in November 2014, a new record by 12%. You can see the effect by diving into the sector, too. Hospitals, for example, lost jobs in 2013. But in 2014, hospitals bounced back, adding about 36,000 jobs. That makes sense — if any sector was going to reap the benefits of coverage expansion, with more insured patients, it would be hospitals.
All told, over the last 12 months, America's health care sector has added 342,000 jobs in the past 12 months -- the best totals for the sector in nearly a decade.
So much for the argument that the health care industry has been "traumatized and terrified by the impact of ObamaCare."
All of this, of course, is being felt at the state and local level, at least in those areas that have implemented the ACA effectively. The Santa Fe New Mexican
published this report
the other day:
[T]he largest driver of employment growth in [New Mexico] has been the Affordable Care Act, an initiative of Democratic President Barack Obama that has been embraced by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. The raw numbers are still pretty ugly. New Mexico was 49th among states and the District of Columbia in total nonfarm payroll growth, behind only Alaska and Mississippi. The state was a bit better when looking at private-sector jobs ... and that is largely due to health care.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but if Republicans on the Supreme Court destroy the health care law, health care jobs will suffer, along with the families that will lose access to care, and the economy overall.