Markos Moulitsas: ACA is good for business

Markos Moulitsas: ACA is good for business
© Greg Nash

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE continues to insist, against all evidence, that the Affordable Care Act is a failure. Just this weekend, the following exchange took place on “Meet The Press”:

“You made some dire predictions about healthcare,” host Chuck Todd said to Boehner (R-Ohio). In “2014 you said fewer people would have health insurance. According to plenty of surveys, more people have health insurance today than they did before. It went down from — the uninsured rate went down from 17 percent to just under 12 percent. You said it would destroy jobs. The first year it was implemented, the country added 3 million jobs. Why —”

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Boehner then interrupted: “ObamaCare made it harder for employers to hire people. The economy expands and as a result, you are going to have more employees because businesses have to. But if you can ask any employer in America, and ask them whether ObamaCare has made it harder for them to hire employees, and they’ll tell you yes. Because it’s a fact.”

Ask any employer in America? Ask me!

You see, my job-creating credentials are pretty good. I am a co-founder of Vox Media, which at last count has well over 400 employees. I run Daily Kos, which has another 35 employees. So being intimately involved in two companies, both of which have hired a significant number of people, I feel eminently qualified to take Boehner’s challenge. 

So, has the Affordable Care Act made it harder for me to hire? Not even close. Why would it? The conservative anti-ObamaCare argument is full of invective and rank ideology, and thin on details. There is literally nothing in the law that has had even the most tangentially negative effect on hiring. 

On the other hand, the fact that the rate of increase for healthcare insurance premiums has slowed dramatically since the pre-ACA years means that the cost of my employee benefits are lower than they would have been without the law. So rather than hurt, the law is helping me. 

Perhaps that’s why not a single major business group filed an amicus brief in support of the King v. Burwell conservative challenge to the law. Not even the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or even the National Federation of Independent Business, which brought us the first major challenge to the ACA. Apparently, even they couldn’t pretend the law was harming businesses. Boehner should take heed.

But Boehner is clearly out of his depth on this matter. The fact is, he and his Republican buddies predicted nothing short of economic collapse, an employment cataclysm and a rise in the uninsured rate, and the end result has been essentially the exact opposite. It must be embarrassing to be consistently proven wrong by reality. 

Now, if Boehner is serious about looking out for the best interests of businesses, he should get to work on single-payer healthcare. Paying my share of employee health insurance benefits is definitely a crimp to additional hiring. If Daily Kos didn’t have to pay those benefits, I would have an additional $400,000 every year to put toward new salaries, netting between four and six new employees. I could really use them, too.

Imagine the jobs that would be created if business no longer had to worry about employee healthcare costs. But the conservative crusade against the ACA isn’t about trying to help businesses create jobs. That’s why Boehner won’t do what he himself suggested: ask actual job creators how to proceed.

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.