As year one of Obamacare has come and gone, liberals haven’t failed to notice that it did not destroy the economy, as Republican pundits and politicians had long predicted. Now, of course, Republicans will likely counter that the reason the economy has not yet been destroyed is that Obama postponed the employer mandate until 2015 for businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance to those employees. They’ll likely argue that this added expense to employers will be too much for small businesses and, in turn, destroy those businesses and the jobs they create.
It’s fair to say that some medium to large-sized businesses will indeed be hurt by this, but most businesses that have a lot of employees already offer health insurance to those employees, so most businesses will see little difference. The reality about economics is that all solutions, even choices to implement no solutions at all, result in some winners and some losers. In no economic solution does everyone win. But with Obamacare, it’s the small businesses that win.
Here’s an example: Let’s say a restaurant chain, like Denny’s, has to raise prices to help pay for employee healthcare. Doing so will indeed put them at a bit of a competitive disadvantage. But with whom will they have trouble competing? Will it not be the small, locally-owned restaurants with fewer than 50 employees who need not pay for employee health insurance? So then Obamacare actually helps small businesses compete with the large corporate chains that have been eroding their business for decades. Obamacare actually gives small businesses the chance to fight back against the big corporations. So it’s only natural that the Republicans Party, which is controlled by the corporate wealthy, would oppose it.
But even if Obamacare hurts some individual businesses, it won’t hurt the economy as a whole, because it is consumer spending that creates jobs. As long as the customer demand remains strong, businesses will pop up to take advantage of that demand. If giving low income workers healthcare gives them more personal spending money (since they no longer have to pay as much out of their pocket for their own healthcare), then they can spend more money buying goods and services from other companies, which, in turn, creates jobs in those industries. The employer mandate in Obamacare actually transfers money from the hands of corporate chains, whose owners tend to hoard their riches, to low-paid employees who spend almost all of their limited income in the economy, which is great for our nation overall.
And let’s not forget that this growing consumer demand, combined with the advantages that Obamacare gives small businesses, will create unprecedented new opportunities for brand new small businesses to prosper, since small restaurants will have a better chance than ever to compete with the big chains and have success. Although, it always helps if they offer some really good food, which will certainly give them an advantage over Denny’s.
And it gets even better.
Obamacare also creates advantages in the labor market for small businesses. Up until this past year, small businesses really had no shot at recruiting employees who insisted on having employer-provided health insurance. Millions of Americans, including those who already work for big corporations, cannot obtain health insurance on their own due to their pre-existing conditions (most of whom are not too sick to work, but have minor health issues and can no longer be insured– I am one of these people). So small employers who didn’t offer insurance to their employees couldn’t hire these people. This made the labor pool a whole lot smaller for small business owners than it did for corporations. From a salary perspective, this gave the corporations an advantage. They could pay workers who were desperate for employer-provided health insurance less money than they otherwise would have had to, because the employees had fewer employment choices.
Contrary to Republican claims that Obamacare inhibits our freedoms, it turns out that it actually increases them. People with pre-existing conditions (like myself) are now free to escape enslavement to corporations and become self-employed or employed by small businesses, while small businesses now have a bit more of a competitive advantage over corporations in the labor market.
This fact makes me wonder whether the corporate wealthy folks who control the Republican Party hate Obamacare because of these freedoms. They might prefer that we all have no choice but to work for them if we want health insurance. So by repealing Obamacare, they’ll tighten their control over employees’ live and increase their competitive advantage over small businesses. Americans will then become fully-dependent on the corporations. As I like to say, the Republican Party doesn’t protect our freedoms; it protects corporations’ rights to take our freedoms away. Their plan to repeal Obamacare is the perfect example.