Health care law job killers coming

James Bacon:

An Associated Press story sparked a small furor recently when it reported that the Obama administration's ban on deep-water drilling would cost an estimated 23,000 jobs. With unemployment stuck near 10 percent, consternation over the avoidable job destruction was understandable.

But that's hardly the only example of how Mr. Obama's policies are devastating the economy. A little-noticed provision of the Affordable Care Act will wipe out an estimated 25,000 jobs that physician-owned hospitals were expecting to create within the next year or so. To keep the big hospitals on the sidelines of the health care debate, the authors of Obamacare cut a deal that effectively blocks physicians from building or expanding their own specialty hospitals - spiking 39 projects that were on the drawing board before the law was enacted.

The job-killing provisions of Obamacare are particularly ironic given that physician-owned facilities tend to be economically efficient and deliver superior medical outcomes. Stated goals of Obamacare are to tame in-hospital infections, reduce medical complications and cut readmission rates - metrics in which many physician-owned hospitals excel. But health care "reform" hamstrings the tightly focused physician-owned surgery centers while protecting generalist community hospitals with more political clout.


Obamacare architect Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, proposed to pay for Obamacare's massive expansion of entitlements in part by imposing a 20 percent cut in Medicare fees for hospital services over the decade. Understandably, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals protested the arbitrary nature of the cost savings. So, the Baucus caucus threw the big hospitals a bone - the crackdown on physician-owned hospitals - in exchange for putting a muzzle on their opposition. Neutralizing the hospital lobby was crucial for the law's passage.

The Democrats are rapidly losing credibility on the jobs, jobs, jobs front. This is just another example of what a monstrosity the health care law turned out to be. It needs to be repealed and quickly.


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