During CNN's February 25 Republican presidential debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that the Affordable Care Act “is a job-killing law.” The assertions by Cruz and Rubio, which fact-checkers called “false” and “hard to square,” echoed years of false right-wing media reports that the health care law would kill jobs.
Rubio And Cruz Claim Obamacare “Killed” Jobs During GOP Debate
Rubio And Cruz Want To End Obamacare Because It's a “Job-Killing Law.” During CNN's February 25 Republican presidential debate, Marco Rubio asserted that President Obama's health care law “is a job-killing law.” Ted Cruz echoed Rubio, claiming the health care law has “killed millions of jobs.” From The New York Times' transcript of the debate (emphasis added):
RUBIO: We need to repeal Obamacare completely and replace it with a system that puts Americans in charge of their health care money again. If your employer wants to buy health insurance for you, they can continue to do so from any company in America they want to buy it from.
Otherwise, your employers can provide you health care money, tax- free, not treated as income, and you can use that money only for health care, but you can use it to fund health care any way you want, fully fund a health savings account, the combination of a health savings account or a private plan from any company in any state in the country.
And if you don't have that, then you will have a refundable tax credit that provides you health care money to buy your own health care coverage. And that, I think, is a much better approach than Obamacare, which, by the way, isn't just bad for health care, it's bad for our economy. It is a health care law that is basically forcing companies to lay people off, cut people's hours, move people to part-time. It is not just a bad health care law, it is a job-killing law. And I will repeal it as president and we will replace it with something substantially better for all Americans.
CRUZ: On Obamacare, both Donald and I say we want to end it, but for very different reasons. I want to end it because it goes too far, it's killed millions of jobs, and it's hurting people's health care. [The New York Times, 2/25/16]
Fact-Checkers Find It “Hard To Square” Candidates' Claims With The Facts
AP: “The Claim That Obama's Health Care Law Is A Job-Killer Is Hard To Square” With The Jobs Added Since The Law Took Effect. The Associated Press' February 26 post-debate fact-check noted that unemployment has fallen 5 percent since the law took effect and that there is no “evidence that workers are being moved en masse to part-time hours” :
THE FACTS: The claim that Obama's health care law is a job-killer is hard to square with the fact that the economy has added more than 13.4 million jobs since the law took effect. The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9 percent from 9.9. percent since Obama signed the act.
Nor is there evidence that workers are being moved en masse to part-time hours. The number of part-time workers has actually fallen slightly since the health care law was passed: There were 27.6 million part-timers working in March 2010, and there are 26.3 million now. [Associated Press, 2/26/16]
Washington Post: “There Is Slim Evidence That Jobs Have Been Lost” Due To The Health Care Law. In a February 26 fact-check of the debate, The Washington Post's Fact Checker found that unemployment has gone down to under 5 percent since the law was enacted and concluded that “anecdotal reports do not reflect a large trend with any real impact on employment” :
Both men claim that the health-care law has been horrible for jobs -- Cruz even claims it's “killed millions of jobs” -- but there is slim evidence that jobs have been lost. (In fact, the unemployment rate is now under 5 percent.) Recent, detailed studies have found that the Affordable Care Act had little impact on employment patterns.
One study, published in January in the journal Health Affairs, examined Census data and found no increase in the likelihood of working part time, except for a 0.18 percentage point increase in the likelihood of working 25 to 29 hours per week between 2013 and 2014 -- a trend that predated the ACA. Even the researchers said the findings were surprising, given widespread reporting of scattered companies that said they had moved some workers to part-time work in response to the health-care law.
Thus far, however, it appears such anecdotal reports do not reflect a trend with any real impact on employment. [The Washington Post, 2/26/15]
CNN: “Obamacare Is Not A Job Killer.” A CNN fact-check examined Rubio's claim and found it “false,” adding that, according to a 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Education Trust survey, “Obamacare is not a job killer” :
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio repeated his claim that Obamacare is “a certified job-killer.”
“It's bad for our economy,” Rubio said. “It's a health care law that is basically forcing companies to lay people off, cut people's hours, move people to part-time. It's not just a bad health care law, it's a job-killing law, and I will repeal it as President and we will replace it with something substantially better for all Americans.”
In fact, Obamacare is not a job killer, according to the 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Education Trust survey released in September.
The report showed that only 4% of employers with at least 50 employees said they shifted some staffers to part-time hours so they wouldn't qualify for health care, and another 4% said they were reducing the number of full-time employees they planned to hire because of the cost of health benefits.
An ADP Research Institute study had similar findings. In fact, that study showed that 10% of employers reported that they were changing workers from part-time to full-time status to enable them to obtain coverage.
One reason may be that the economy has been improving. Some companies interviewed by ADP said they may increase their part-timers' hours to retain talent and reduce training costs.
As to whether employers are cutting jobs because of Obamacare, it's nearly impossible to determine from Labor Department data since the economy is recovering and adding jobs. The number of people who can only find part-time jobs has declined in recent years, signifying companies are hiring more full-time workers.
Verdict: False. [CNN, 2/26/16]
NY Times: "No Reports Of [Employment] Casualties So Far." A New York Times fact-check noted, “A recent study by the conservative American Enterprise Institute concluded that there was little evidence the Affordable Care Act has led companies to cut back on employment” :
Mr. Rubio says Obamacare “is not just a bad health care law. It is a job-killing law.”
No reports of casualties so far.
A recent study by the conservative American Enterprise Institute concluded that there was little evidence the Affordable Care Act has led companies to cut back on employment, although it cautioned that the law is new and an impact could be seen in coming years.
Economists do expect that some people will choose to work less now that they can get health insurance without holding a job. The Congressional Budget Office estimates those choices will reduce the work force by the equivalent of about two million full-time workers by 2025. [The New York Times, 2/25/16]
Conservative Media Has Pushed The “Job-Killer” Myth For Years
Fox's MacCallum: Businesses “Will Tell You That The Reason They're Not Hiring Is ... Because Of Obamacare.” On the June 15, 2015, edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum and Fox contributor Katie Pavlich smeared the health care law by falsely claiming that “American businesses aren't hiring at the rate that they could be” “because of Obamacare” :
KATIE PAVLICH: If you take a look at the last six, seven years under the Obama administration, for one example, American businesses aren't hiring at the rate that they could be because of policies that Hillary Clinton supports: Obamacare, government regulation, government regulation based on climate change, which is not a settled science despite what she said in her speech. And so the policies and the big government handouts and programs that Hillary Clinton supports do nothing to pull people out of poverty as Hillary Clinton claims she wants to do.
MARTHA MACCALLUM (HOST): Mary Anne -- thank you, Katie. You're shaking your head, Mary Anne, you're shaking your head. But that is true. I mean, businesses you talk to all across this country will tell you that the reason they're not hiring is because of onerous regulation and because of Obamacare. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 6/15/15]
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Labeled Obamacare A “Job Destroyer.” On February 4, The Wall Street Journal editorial board responded to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that says that the ACA is allowing millions of Americans to choose to work less. The editors said the report was proof that health care reform is a “job destroyer that is removing rungs from the ladder of upward economic mobility.” [The Wall Street Journal, 2/4/14]
Fox's Karl Rove: Obamacare Created “More Part-Time Jobs In The Place Of Full-Time Jobs.” During the August 30, 2013, edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox contributor Karl Rove asserted that “one of the big consequences” of the Affordable Care Act was that it diminished the amount of full-time jobs available and created “more part-time jobs in the place of full-time jobs” :
BILL HEMMER (HOST): Mounting criticism on Obamacare and the unintended consequences it will have for many Americans. The number of part-time jobs shooting higher as many employers decide to evade the coming mandate to cover full-timers.
KARL ROVE: President Obama never sold the Affordable Care Act to the American people by saying, look this is going to create more part-time jobs in the place of full-time jobs. And yet that's one of the big consequences of the bill.
ROVE: Employers are taking into consideration the cost of the Affordable Care Act and they're hiring part-time people and they're keeping them at increasingly less than 30 hours.
HEMMER: That's going to change livelihoods in America too. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 8/30/13]
Fox Panel Blames Obamacare For Nonexistent Surge In Part-Time Work. On the August 21, 2013, edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto was joined by Fox Business contributor Elizabeth MacDonald and right-wing publishing magnate Steve Forbes to discuss claims that “companies are increasingly blaming [Obamacare] for the rise in part-time work.” The panel agreed that the ACA had created a surge in part-time work, even though virtually all contemporary evidence suggests that the law's impact on the labor market was either negligible or nonexistent. [Media Matters, 8/21/13]
On Fox, Betsy McCaughey Claimed “Many People May Lose Their Jobs Because Of” The Health Care Law. On the November 19, 2012, edition of Fox News' Your World, Fox hosted serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey, who claimed that “many people may lose their jobs because of Obamacare.” [Fox News, Your World, 11/19/12]
Fox Promotes Misleading Republican Report That Obamacare Would Kill At Least 800,000 Jobs. In October 2010, Fox News promoted a misleading study produced by Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and John Barrasso, which claimed that health care reform would result in “hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost” based on the senators' misinterpretation of a CBO estimate. Fox figures jumped on the study to claim the law would destroy up to 800,000 American jobs, and “perhaps more.” [Media Matters, 10/28/10]
Fox Business: “Does Obamacare Mean Millions More Jobs Destroyed?” During a 2010 discussion about the health care bill on Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, an on-screen graphic asked: “Does Obamacare mean millions more jobs destroyed?” :
[Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/16/10]