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Economy Update: Healthcare Law’s Implications for Jobs

by Newsteam Staff
June 29, 2012

A patient has her knee examined by a doctor at University of Chicago Medicine Urgent Care Clinic in Chicago, June 28, 2012 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters). A patient has her knee examined by a doctor at University of Chicago Medicine Urgent Care Clinic in Chicago, June 28, 2012 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters).

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Thursday decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act moved debate over the law to presidential campaign, as candidates and analysts continue to disagree over its economic implications.

The economic effects of the healthcare law, which will go into full effect in 2014, remain heavily debated with some arguing reducing the number of uninsured is necessary to keep insurance costs low for employers already cost-burdened to the point that they are less competitive globally but others saying it hurts U.S. businesses, especially small business.

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney vowed to repeal the law if elected, saying the Supreme Court ruling does not change the fact that the law is “bad policy” and a “job killer” that will hurt the U.S. economy more than it will help anyone. “Three-quarters of [businesses across the country] surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people,” Romney said.

At Fox News, Edward Rollins says the court’s decision should help Romney’s argument against the law with voters, whose primary concern is the economy. “Romney and his campaign team need to prove this bill will have a serious impact on the future economy and the taxes to pay for it will slow down any recovery,” Rolling says.

President Barack Obama argued that the decision on the law will make Americans “more secure” and made another case for the economic necessity of the law’s requirement for everyone who can afford it to buy insurance, saying “some folks might wait until they’re sick to buy the care they need — which would also drive up everybody else’s premiums.” He also said it was now time to focus on the economy and job creation.

The LA Times’ Alana Semuels writes that some economists are saying the court’s decision might provide new clarity for U.S. businesses so they can “finally make some personnel and other moves, giving the economy a much-needed kick.”

For more on the candidates’ stances, check this issue tracker on The Candidates and the Economy.

Suggested Other Reading:

This CFR Backgrounder looks at U.S. healthcare and examines how soaring costs have made the U.S. less competitive globally.

This Reuters Factbox looks at the numbers in U.S. healthcare and points out that while U.S. spending is highest among OECD countries, the country is thirty-first out of thirty-four countries for healthcare access.

Earlier this week, the government announced that insurance industry owed an estimated $1.1 billion in rebates (Reuters) to companies and individuals this year because of a understood provision in the law that requires at least 80 percent of premiums be spent on care or quality-of-service improvements.

Contributing Editor Gayle S. Putrich and Senior Editor Toni Johnson

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