Coffman ‘health reform as job-killer’ claim debunked by FactCheck.org

Shortly after the House health care bill was passed November 7, Representative Mike Coffman, a Republican representing Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, issued a scathing press release characterizing the bill as a job killer. But in an article today, the nonprofit, nonpartisan FactCheck.org writes that such claims are overblown.

From Coffman’s press release:

Do not be mistaken, the only thing this health care bill will do is make our nation sicker.  It will cut care for our seniors, it will kill millions of jobs, it will raise taxes, and it will strangle our economy.

But FactCheck.org writes that  no experts predict job losses in the millions:

mike coffman

The truth is the House legislation would likely have a “small” effect on jobs, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. A RAND Corp. expert says the job loss would be “quite minimal.” A third estimate puts the job loss at several hundred thousand low-wage jobs, or well under one-half of 1 percent of all jobs. Furthermore, the bill doesn’t kick in until the year 2013, and by then the economy is expected to be much improved, with unemployment down to 5.8 percent according to CBO’s projections.

The article goes on to explain that some employees would pay more under the bill, most clearly those with payrolls over $500,000 who don’t currently offer coverage to their employees. But some would pay less—particularly small businesses who already offer coverage.

For the longer explanation, read below. For the even longer explanation, visit FactCheck.org:

The House-passed health care bill certainly puts new requirements on businesses, as the Chamber’s ad says. The employer mandate, also known as the “pay-or-play” provision, would require employers to provide health insurance for their full-time and even their part-time workers, or pay a penalty amounting to 8 percent of payroll. That would increase costs for many businesses that don’t already cover their workers, or don’t cover all of them.

The mandate doesn’t apply to all businesses: Those with payrolls under $500,000 a year would be completely exempt and employers with payrolls between $500,000 and $750,000 would pay lower penalties than larger businesses. And small businesses would get other help, too. Small firms would be allowed to purchase coverage through a new insurance exchange, pooling risk as large firms can do now. The aim is to put their premium costs more in line with the cheaper prices that large employers pay. The legislation also includes tax credits for businesses with fewer than 25 employees and average wages under $40,000 to help them provide health coverage; the credits could amount to as much as 50 percent of premiums – though they would only be in effect for two years, and we can’t predict whether they would be renewed.

The upshot for employers overall? Some would pay more under the bill – those with payrolls over $500,000 who don’t now offer coverage to their employees being the most obvious example. And some would pay less – particularly small employers who currently provide coverage. They would get cheaper premiums through the exchange, health care experts believe, and some would qualify for a tax credit.

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