Dana Goldstein highlights an important, but often overlooked issue in the health-care debate: the potential impact of these proposals on job creation. Goldstein focuses particularly on the potential harm on lower-skilled women:
It sounds simple enough: Companies with dinky or non-existing benefits packages—such as many of the beauty salons, restaurants, and temp agencies where pink-collar women work—will have to help government shoulder the burden of health coverage for their employees, the working poor. But in reality, this “free rider provision” is one of the most controversial elements of health reform, drawing particular ire form the left. Washington Post health-care blogger Ezra Klein has called it a “no good, very bad, horrible policy,” possibly “the worst policy…in the world.” Why the venom? Because the law would add an estimated $4,000 to $5,000 to the cost of employing a single parent—encouraging bosses to hire workers without kids, or with spouses who can provide benefits. “This is a significant cost for employers,” says Judy Solomon, a health-care expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “It creates a disincentive for employers to hire people who may need government assistance to afford insurance.”
In other words, the Baucus bill slams single moms in the midst of a recession, when many are scrounging to make ends meet.
In congressional testimony last week, Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Hudson Institute also highlighted how it’s not just women’s physical health that’s at stake in this debate about health-care reform, but their economic health. Proposed reforms could discourage job creation and impede economic growth — exactly what women don’t want in the midst of this recession.