Bob Samuelson argues this morning that the Affordable Care Act raises unemployment by raising employer costs:
This is basic economics. If you increase the price of labor, companies will buy less of it. Requiring employers to buy health insurance for some workers makes them more expensive, at least in the short run. Particularly vulnerable are low-skilled workers, notes economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute. Because the employer mandate exempts firms with fewer than 50 workers, there’s a huge incentive for firms to stop at 49, she says.
Samuelson's column was tweeted by the office of Speaker John Boehner.
Yet it seems like only yesterday that House Republicans were telling me that the main effect of Obamacare would be to induce employers to dump health coverage and rely on the taxpayer instead:
[E]mployers could save, on average, $402.3 million ($4,821 per full- time and part-time U.S. employee) – on an after tax basis – in 2014 alone by eliminating their health insurance coverage and instead paying the employer mandate’s $2,000 per full-time employee fine. From 2014 through 2023, the average employer responding to the survey could save $5.9 billion if they dropped coverage in favor of paying the mandate penalty.
Has anybody else noted that these complaints cannot logically both be true? Either Obamacare will cause Americans to lose their coverage by offering a cheap government alternative to employer-provided care or Obamacare will aggravate unemployment by raising costs. Not both.