Fact Check: Health care law’s job costs

Romney claimed that the health care law will cost jobs; frequently Republicans use a figure of 800,000. This is based on an estimate briefly included in a lengthy budget analysis by the Congressional Budget Office in 2010, but he overstates the impact.

Boiled down to plain English, the CBO essentially said that some people who are now in the work force because they need health insurance would decide to stop working because the health care law guaranteed they would have access to health care.

Think of someone who is 63, a couple of years before retirement, who is still in a job only because they are waiting to get on Medicare when they turn 65. Or a single mother with children who is only working to make sure her kids have health insurance.

Now some might argue that despite these heartwarming stories, the overall impact of the health law on employment is bad because it would be encouraging people -- some 800,000 -- not to work. Moreover, the argument could go, this would hurt the nation's budget because 800,000 fewer people will pay taxes on their earnings. That's certainly an intellectually solid argument -- though others might counter that universal health care is worth a minimal reduction in overall employment.

Glenn Kessler has reported on domestic and foreign policy for more than three decades. He would like your help in keeping an eye on public figures. Send him statements to fact check by emailing him, tweeting at him, or sending him a message on Facebook.
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