Affordable Care Act hasn't killed jobs but hasn't created them either

There has been a long-running debate as to whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is actually killing jobs, creating them or doing little at all. A new study suggests it is the third case.

The ACA has had little negative impact on the U.S. job market, according to the data crunched by the Robert Wood Johnson and the Urban Institute. It relied on numbers from the federal Current Population Survey (CPS). 

Among the study's conclusions: For adults with a high school education or less, employment rates last year were 1.8 percentage points higher "than what would be expected given the rates of unemployment, demographic characteristics and pre-existing time trends." Part-time employment among that group was also 0.5 percent higher than expected.

The notion that the healthcare reform law has killed jobs has been voiced by conservative politicians, most notably Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Meanwhile, some states that have declined to expand Medicaid eligibility, such as North Carolina, have experienced hospital closures that had a negative economic impact on the towns that they serve.

"It's reasonable to think that if there was going to be a large effect, some of it would have happened in 2014," Urban Institute Economist Bowen Garrett told the Washington Post.

However, there have also been studies suggesting that the ACA could contribute as many as half of the 4.6 million jobs expected to be created in the U.S. over the next decade.

But the ACA's effect on job expansion has been negligible at best. The study concluded that the expansion of Medicaid eligibility had no impact at all on the national job market.

"The authors find that there is nothing particularly unusual about labor market outcomes in 2014 that would suggest the ACA has had much effect on employment, if any at all. And since they were able to find small changes, it is unlikely that the large labor market effects predicted prior to the ACA could come to fruition in the coming years," read the study's conclusion.

To learn more:
- read the study (.pdf)
- check out the Washington Post article