How Obamacare Rationing is Harming the Economy
By Burke. J. Balch, J.D., director, NRLC’s Powell Center for Medical Ethics
President Obama has been among the many deploring the reality that despite an improving economy, middle-class wages have remained largely stagnant. Yet there is now evidence that the rationing provisions of Obamacare are partly responsible.
Even during recessions, in the past the health care sector has been a part of the economy in which employment has generally increased – as, due to productivity increases, Americans have been able to devote larger portions of their income and assets to keep themselves alive so as to be able to enjoy how they spend the rest of their funds. Under Obamacare, that has changed.
A January 25, 2015, article in the Wall Street Journal by Edward Lazear reports, “Between 2010 and 2014, the average real wage fell 1.1%, a poor showing after rising 3.4% between 2006 and 2010.”
Lazear notes that during those years there were “significant declines in the proportion of the workforce employed in two high-paying industries. Those declines contributed to overall wage declines—and they may have been caused by policy mistakes.”
One of those is “hospitals,” in which jobs pay 24% above the economy’s average. “The share of the private workforce employed in . . . ‘hospitals’ decreased by about 5% between 2010 and 2014. . . . Because a smaller share of labor is working [in that] high-wage [industry, together with a similar employment decline in “financial activities”], the typical job in the economy is now lower-paying than in 2010.”
As Lazear recognizes, the drop coincides with the enactment and implementation of Obamacare: “[T]he share of workers in hospitals increased rapidly from 2006 to 2010, placing it among the top 10% of industries in labor growth. That trend was reversed in the past four years. Nursing and residential care’s share of employment also grew in the early period and declined in the latter one. Ambulatory health-care services, whose share did continue to grow from 2010 to 2014, slowed to one-fourth the pace of growth that prevailed from 2006 to 2010.”
Obamacare contains numerous provisions specifically designed to suppress health care spending in the private as well as the governmental sector, as detailed at www.nrlc.org/uploads/communications/healthcarereport2014.pdf . The “success” of these measures has tragically cut growth in what we are spending to save our lives and preserve our health.
Obamacare’s rationing isn’t just harming patients – it’s harming the economy as well.