AP: "Job-Killing" Health Care Reform Doesn't Actually Destroy Jobs

January 18, 2011 5:18 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Without a legitimate reason to hold a futile vote on the repeal of health care reform, House Republicans have chosen to make their symbolic effort all about jobs. The Center for American Progress estimates that health care reform will create jobs, and independent experts don't accept the GOP argument either, but Republicans are sticking with the "job destroying" talking point regardless.

In a recent report, Republican leaders cited the "non-partisan Congressional Budget Office" to back up their claim that the Affordable Care Act will cause 650,000 job losses. This is problematic for two reasons. First, the same Republicans bitterly rejected the CBO's projection that their repeal bill will increase the deficit by $230 billion, so flaunting its analysis now smacks of hypocrisy. Second, and more importantly, the Republicans are mangling what CBO actually said.

The Associated Press explains:

[The GOP] cites the 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the original analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced the number.

What follows is a story of how statistics get used and abused in Washington.

What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of it would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job.

Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart ridiculed the Republican ruse. Noting that the decrease in employment will come from people "voluntarily leaving the workforce or reducing their hours," Stewart concluded that the Affordable Care Act "is 'job-killing' in the sense that getting more sleep at night is 'awake-killing.'

Watch (starting at 4:50):