As the House of Representatives plans a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, I hope our Senators and the mid-Missouri congressional delegation will consider the financial impact on their constituents.
Small businesses will lose credits that help them cover workers; jobs created by the expansion of community health centers would not be available; children with pre-existing conditions would lose coverage and perhaps deal with high out-of-pocket costs for treatment of chronic conditions; and farmers who have a very difficult time securing affordable coverage on the private market will no longer have the option of buying through the insurance exchange.
Republicans define health reform as “job killing” legislation. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports private employers added more than 1.3 million new jobs in 2010, most since President Obama signed health reform into law on March 23. One-fifth of the new jobs — more than 200,000 — have been in the health care industry.
Aside from the fact that increasing access to health services will create thousands of jobs in the health care sector, Harvard economist David Cutler argues in a just-released report that repealing the health law would reverse these gains and could destroy 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually over the next decade. Eliminating the law would increase health care costs and cause employers to reduce wages and cut jobs for those employees who already receive minimum wage or are in fixed contracts. Medical care accounts for one-sixth of the economy, and Professor Cutler concludes that any health reform that improves the efficiency of medical care will boost economic performance. Conversely, legislation that raises medical spending will be a job killer.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer and Christine Harbin of the Show Me Institute talked on the Mike Ferguson radio show earlier this month about the overwhelming majority of Missourians voting against the Affordable Care Act individual mandate. They might not realize that the yes votes represented around 16 percent of registered Missouri voters — not a ringing endorsement for Proposition C. I urge all of our members of Congress take note of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Missourians and reject repeal.
Jane Whitesides is with Pro-Vote Missouri. She lives in Glasgow.