Please see below for a fact check of Senator Grassley’s (R-IA) comments on the Senate floor this evening falsely claiming that health insurance reform should be delayed because reform will increase the U.S. unemployment rate.
RHETORIC: Sen. Grassley (R-IA) Suggested Health Insurance Reform Will Increase Unemployment Rate As a Result of “Billions” In Cuts to Hospice and Home Health Care; Said Health Reform Should Wait. Senator Grassley, Republican of Iowa, claimed that Democrats are now proposing billions “in home payment cuts and 1 billion in hospice payment cuts” and “that permanent cuts like this will make it even harder” for health providers in Iowa “to keep their doors open. So around 3,500 Iowans who work in home health agencies are at risk of losing their jobs at the time we have 10% unemployment. At a time when more of this country is concerned that Congress ought to be working on creating jobs, jobs, jobs as opposed to the health care issue and in some cases cutting jobs out. The Labor Department reported yesterday – or today it was that unemployment is 10%. Now is not the time to consider bills that increase unemployment.” [Grassley Floor Speech, 12/4/09]
REALITY: REPUBLICAN OPPOSITION WILL COST JOBS
Chamber Of Commerce: “The Reality With The Business Community Is That We Want Reform, While Some Republicans Want To Stop This Train And Start Over.” The Wall Street Journal reported on the Chamber Of Commerce’s relatively positive reaction to Chairman Baucus’ health reform proposal: “‘The reality with the business community is that we want reform, while some Republicans want to stop this train and start over,’ said Bruce Josten, the chamber’s chief lobbyist. ‘That is just not going to happen.’” [Wall Street Journal, 9/25/09]
WSJ: More Than Three Times As Many Small Businesses Are Considering Eliminating Health Insurance Coverage This Year, Compared To 2005. “Health-insurance premiums for single workers rose 74% for small businesses from 2001 to 2008, the latest year data are available, according to nonprofit research group Kaiser Family Foundation. About 10% of small businesses are considering eliminating coverage over the next year, up from 3% in 2005, according to a recent survey by National Small Business Association. That follows earlier declines in coverage, with just 38% of small businesses providing health insurance last year compared to 61% in 1993, according to the trade group. In 2007, 41% offered coverage. A Hewitt Associates survey found that 19% of all companies plan to stop providing health-care benefits in the next three to five years.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/26/09]
National Small Business Association: “Health-Care Reform Can Not Wait Yet Another Year.” “Health-care reform topped the list of small-business priorities when members of the National Small Business Association voted recently on issues they want Congress and President Barack Obama to address. The group said it supports ‘broad health-care reform’ that will reduce costs, improve quality, create a fair sharing of health-care costs, and focus on individuals’ responsibilities as health-care consumers. ‘Given the current state of the U.S. economy, the fact that our members voted health-care reform their number one priority ought to send a strong message to Congress,’ NSBA President Todd McCracken said in a written statement. ‘Health-care reform can not wait yet another year.’” [Orlando Sentinel, 3/9/09]
Study: No Health Insurance Reform Means Small Businesses Will Pay Nearly $2.4 Trillion In Healthcare Costs, Cost 178,000 Jobs. The Small Business Majority study commissioned a study from noted economist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jonathan Gruber. The study found that, “without reform, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years in healthcare costs for their workers. With reform, the study shows that small businesses can save as much as $855 billion, a reduction of 36 percent, money that can be reinvested to grow the economy.” The study also found that without reform, 178,000 small business jobs will be lost in 2018 as a result of healthcare costs, and with reform, up to 128,000 of those jobs could be saved. [The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business, 6/11/09]
CEA Report: Slowing Health Care Cost Growth Would Add 500,000 Jobs Each Year. In a report on the economic impact of health care reform, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors wrote that, “[s]lowing cost growth would lower the unemployment rate…the beneficial impact on employment in the short and medium run (relative to the no-reform baseline) is estimated to be approximately 500,000 each year that the effect is felt.” [CEA Health Care Report, 6/2/09]