Rep. Boehner Repeats Debunked Myth That Health Reform Will Destroy Jobs

December 04, 2009 10:33 am ET

In a December 4, 2009 column in the Morning Call, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) falsely stated that health care reform will cause 5.5 million jobs to be lost.  However, Boehner's claim relies on faulty math that has already been proven wrong.

Boehner's Lie: Health Reform Will Kill 5.5 Million American Jobs

Rep. Boehner:

Washington Democrats' government takeover of health care -- priced at $1.3 trillion and counting -- is funded by new taxes that will fall heavily on small businesses that are trying to create new jobs, and harsh mandates that require employers to either provide ''government-approved'' coverage or pay another steep tax.

According to a methodology developed by a senior White House economist, these sorts of tax increases would result in as many as 5.5 million more American jobs lost over the next 10 years. [Boehner op-ed, Allentown Morning Call, 12/4/09; emphasis added]

Boehner's Questionable Math

PolitiFact.com rated Boehner's claim, which has been forwarded by multiple Republicans, FALSE

Republicans' Analysis "Problematic And Contrary To How Obama's Economic Adviser Said The Model Should Work." According to PolitiFact.com, "Obama's economic adviser - Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers - has never said that a tax in the health care bill would cost up to 5.5 million jobs. Republicans have used her 2007 research to develop a calculation for job losses for any type of tax increase. If you have a number for tax revenues generated, then this model will give you a number of jobs lost. But there are factors that make this type of analysis troublesome when it comes to the health care bill. Romer's 2007 research, for example, said that tax increases that fund spending for social programs tend to balance out, and economic growth stays on an even keel. Another problem is that the Republicans take tax increases that happen over 10 years and treat them as if they happen in one year, which inflates the numbers of jobs that might be lost. Finally, this particular Republican analysis includes more taxes than just the surtax of page 336; it also includes the employer mandates of page 313. We find this analysis to be problematic and contrary to how Obama's economic adviser said the model should work." [PolitiFact.com, 11/4/09]

"An Economic Necessity"

Romer: "Health Care Reform Is An Economic Necessity." On June 2, 2009, White House economic adviser Christina Romer wrote, "Health care reform is more than a social imperative - it is an economic necessity. A new study by the President's Council of Economic Advisers demonstrates that the current American health care system is on an unsustainable path. Without health care reform, American workers and families will continue to experience eroding health care benefits and stagnating wages caused by the pressure of escalating health insurance premiums. And without reform, rising spending on Medicare and Medicaid will lead to massive and unsustainable Federal budget deficits." [Romer op-ed, Yahoo! News, 6/2/09]

Romer: Health Care Reform Will "Allow Lower Unemployment." On June 2, 2009, White House economic adviser Christina Romer wrote, "Controlling health care cost growth would allow lower unemployment in the short and medium run, without putting pressure on inflation. Employment could be 500,000 higher for a number of years." [Romer op-ed, Yahoo! News, 6/2/09]

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