Health-care bill will stimulate economy and create tens of thousands of jobs

After a long arduous journey of being half-way there, the Senate finally passed a health care insurance reform bill on Christmas Eve.

How is it that throughout the entire health care debate the issue of job creation and economic stimulus has not been brought up?

The simple fact is, adding 30 million people into the health care system will translate into an abundance of economic activity and opportunity for millions of Americans: jobs such as doctors, nurses, technicians, administrators and new jobs in research, information technology, medicine — not to mention the positive impact all this fiscal solvency will have on supporting industries and professions.

Not to be a sidewalk superintendent, but it has been frustrating to see this law-making process unfold when obvious political messaging such as “Medicare for All” or “Health Care for New Jobs” has been missing from the Democratic playbook. Yes, I’m aware of Von Bismarck’s famous observation, “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made,” but even so, does anyone else feel as if this campaign was waged with one arm tied behind our back?

Job creation and rebuilding our economy is the prevailing social issue of the day; it is a political Holy Grail and it makes me wonder why this aspect of health care reform has not been brought to light. Adding ten percent of the entire US population into a system of continuous preventive care will undoubtedly lead to job and infrastructure growth in an industry that definitively embodies the best way to improve the general welfare of our national family.

In short, a trillion dollar ten-year health care reform package serves double purpose — not only does it begin to take the steps necessary to provide accessible and affordable health care for everyone, but it also acts as a massive jobs program and stimulus to uplift an economy struggling to recover.

It is beyond me why these two political dots have not been connected; they are so interrelated, and it seems that emphasizing the economic benefits of health care reform would have had a favorable impact by bringing many of the vocal naysayers — at least — into a place of neutrality; it may have even brought in a few Republicans to do the unthinkable, vote “yes”.


  1. Ironically, medicine is one of the few industries where there’s already a shortage of qualified people. Seems Americans are too lazy to spend that many years in school for a job that pays far less than a law degree. Despite anti-immigration sentiment in other industries, an increasing number of doctors and nurses come from somewhere else.

    I wonder where we’ll get the staffing we need to accommodate 30 million new insureds. I’m thinking India, where folks must be quite happy we’re about to go on a hiring binge.

    • The idea that the health care bill acts as direct stimulus cracked a bunch of folks on the other side of the issue — so it must be a good approach to making the case for reform, judging from the reaction I got on my column here:

      For example, Joe said,

      “Dear Byron, what kind of dope are you and the Dems/Obama smoking? Your wishful thinking on it creating jobs and staying out of the red ink is a dreamland. Don’t forget about the doctor fix of $250 billion (to keep them better paid)that was taken out of the healthcare fiscal evaluation. To Congress: The US Postal Service was established in 1775. You’ve had 234 years to get it solvent, it is broke. Social Security was established in 1935. You’ve had 74 yrs. to get it solvent, it’s broke. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You’ve had 71 yrs. to get it right, it’s broke. The War on Poverty was started in 1964. Taking trillions through taxes and transferring it to the poor; has not improved their lot. Medicare and Medicaid were started in ’65. You’ve had 44 yrs. to get it solvent. Future baby boomer promised funds are at a deficit $106 trillion. Freddie Mac was born in ’70. You’ve had 39 yrs. to get it right. It is broke. TARP,the Stimulus, not helping the grassroots. Help France, not us!!”

      Wow. How do they *really* feel about the public sector, I’m not too clear on where they stand… sheesh.

      • As they drive on public roads, use public utility electricity and water, and maye even blog their discontent from free wifi in a public library.

  2. I thought NOT tying healthcare reform to the stimulus packages was a deliberate move by those supporting healthcare reform.

    Perhaps had it come before the various bailout and stimulus packages, it could have been portrayed as opportune and timely stimulus, but I thought any association with the previous stimulus packages would have had people calling healthcare reform a bailout program for doctors and health insurance companies.

    Not to mention that many would be in an uproar to hear a permanent legislative change being considered a stimulus measure. I think past stimulus measures are only accepted so much as they are time-limited, constrained to the economic emergency at hand. Otherwise, it would appear like a “Shock Doctrine”-style capitalization on a vulnerable populace to ram through partisan legislation.

    Or that’s how I had assumed the decision-making went all along, not that I actually know what anyone was thinking.

  3. moocow…

    Medicare is considered politically stable and desired by a majority of Americans — it is nearly 500 billion dollars per year in size — huge economically. Economically speaking, the military is a huge and a constant push stimulating activity, and the conventional thinking is, “we need it, it protects us”.

    If we come at this from the point of “we need a working and humane health care system, it protects us”, the expense for that system becomes as justified as military spending, or spending for education.

    The point about jobs is simple. We need to create jobs, the health care reform will do that, it grows two flowers with one seed, non? This point should have been brought into play in making the argument for health care reform now more than ever. It’s an ancillary benefit that would be politically compromising to oppose. For example, those jobs will be created and those jobs will stay in place. That’s not bad, it’s good — especially now. Jobs with people taking care of people? Beautiful timing.

    Why this ancillary benefit wasn’t pushed? — I don’t know. There was mention in a White House press release on health care reform in December about infrastructure growth and new jobs at the end of a bullet list, but it really hasn’t been connected to recovery. To me, jobs are jobs. And we need job growth.

    You said that a permament legislative change shouldn’t be applied to stimulus. ?? Does that mean that we want to create jobs, and then dump them in six months? I don’t think so, I think the idea is to create jobs, put folks back to work, and keep them working, keep those jobs for as long as possible. Get our economy ticking again with more activity and more projects and jobs.

    The message is out there now, linking health care reform and job growth, let’s see what happens.

  4. Was this meant as satire? Like Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”? If so, very nicely done. If not, shame on you for writing such hogwash.

    • Louis, hogwash? Why? What are your points?

      Since you made none, I’ll assume a few things and respond based on those assumptions. First a couple of straw-mans to make it clear why we need to change the status-quo and why that alone will stimulate economic health and lead to job creation. You can answer yes or no.

      Q: Do you think health care should be a for-profit enterprise with folks being denied care because they’re poor?

      Q: Do you think its tolerable that 70% of bankruptcies in the US are due to a lack of health-care insurance coverage?

      Q: Do you think it’s okay for people to be freaked out about changing jobs thereby disrupting market forces because they’re at-risk of losing their health care by switching jobs?

      Q: Do you think folks should live in fear negatively impacting work productivity because they’re forced to wade through so much red tape and dodge efforts to dump their insurance or deny claims because it’ll make more profits for the insurance company?

      This is what is happening today in US care — perpetuation of the status quo will:

      1. cost lives needlessly
      2. damage productivity in the workforce
      3. disrupt and distort market forces in regard to job mobility
      4. damage US companies’ ability to compete in the global marketplace
      5. continue to cause an epidemic of health-care related bankruptcies

      These aspects of our current health care crisis are JOB killers right now, today.

      The health care reform efforts would positively affect each of the above five bullet points, which, in turn, would help strengthen our economy, invigorate American livelihood and create opportunity and jobs.

      Our country is the only industrialized nation without coverage for all her citizens and we spend twice as much per capita than any other nation for our health care – 17% of our GNP. That’s 90% more than West Germany, France or Canada. And don’t think that America is paying a premium for quality because the World Health Organization ranks us at 37th, sandwiched between Slovenia and Costa Rica. An overemphasis on corporate profits has swept away the most basic human needs of the American people.

      Our health-care is too expensive and it’s broken. Why is it that Health Care in America costs so much?

      In our current privatized system, over 30% of the cost pays for expensive Washington lobbyists, exorbitant salaries of CEOs, extravagant corporate jets and flashy advertising campaigns. Money skimmed right off the top before any care is ever provided.

      Simple fact is, the US health care system is broken because of an overemphasis on the profit-side of the business of taking care of folks; a uniquely American affliction as evidenced by the less ‘profit-frothy’ examples of universal health care coverage in the rest of the Western industrialized democracies, with coverage for all and producing significantly better outcomes for the average patient. Turbo-capitalism is at odds with the humane-healing part of health care, and in the worst instances, negates the healing mandate of general medicine.

      Why, what driving the trend of rising premiums, co-pays and deductables? Costs going up three times faster than wages?

      “Profits at 10 of the country’s largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007, while consumers paid more for less coverage.”

      Approximately 45,000 people die every year due to preventable causes; they die because of lack of access. This is inhumane, unjust and unacceptable.

      Many health care opponents are so xenophobic, unable to absorb the possibility that another nation besides the US may have a better handle on solutions towards delivering more effective care for their citizens. We should listen more and let go of an attachment to a broken economic theory that just doesn’t reconcile with the art of healing and providing care in an equitable manner. Or is it the rich survive and the poor die?

      I wish we’d all do a little more research, open our minds and resist the temptation to stop parroting Limbaugh-Beck-isms for a moment.

      My article on job stimulus through health care reform is simple. We need more activity to provide preventive care for the 30 million or so that will be added to the health care insurance roster. Activity means work hours, transactions and the provision of service. It means jobs.

      Also, we need job creation for our recovery and put folks back to work. It’s a positive side to the health care reform package that hasn’t been emphasized, I think it should be. Plus all the additional job creation and productivity that I didn’t mention in my article because the five bullet points above are addressed.

  5. Please see another view: “United States: Healthcare bill — a nightmare before Christmas” at

    • I agree with some of the points brought up in the article. I hope that the final bill will be more like the House version than the Senate version.

  6. i work as a cna worker i think by passing the health care reform bill it will create more jobs. because some clients can receive extra care because of the insurance they have will only pay for so many hrs a cna worker can set with them.if more people can get healthcare who do not have it they can get on the home health care programs and pay for thir love ones to stay at home instead of being put in a rest home. this will create more private home care agencys to hire more cna workers. and that will creat jobs.

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