Medicare for All would Create Net Increase in Jobs and Wages

“Job loss claims are misleading, and substantial boosts to job quality are often overlooked

Fundamental health reform like “Medicare for All” would be a hugely ambitious policy undertaking with profound effects on the economy and the economic security of households in America. But despite oft-repeated claims of large-scale job losses, a national program that would guarantee health insurance for every American would not profoundly affect the total number of jobs in the U.S. economy. In fact, such reform could boost wages and jobs and lead to more efficient labor markets that better match jobs and workers. Specifically, it could:

  • Boost wages and salaries by allowing employers to redirect money they are spending on health care costs to their workers’ wages.
  • Increase job quality by ensuring that every job now comes bundled with a guarantee of health care—with the boost to job quality even greater among women workers, who are less likely to have employer-sponsored health care.
  • Lessen the stress and economic shock of losing a job or moving between jobs by eliminating the loss of health care that now accompanies job losses and transitions.
  • Support self-employment and small business development—which is currently super low in the U.S. relative to other rich countries—by eliminating the daunting loss of/cost of health care from startup costs.
  • Inject new dynamism and adaptability into the overall economy by reducing “job lock”—with workers going where their skills and preferences best fit the job, not just to workplaces (usually large ones) that have affordable health plans.
  • Produce a net increase in jobs as public spending boosts aggregate demand, with job losses in health insurance and billing administration being outweighed by job gains in provision of health care, including the expansion of long-term care. ..”

Source: https://www.epi.org/publication/medicare-for-all-would-help-the-labor-market/ “Fundamental health reform like ‘Medicare for All’ would help the labor market,” Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute, March 5, 2020

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