Claims that health-reform law is putting Kentuckians out of work don’t hold up to scrutiny, economic experts say

“Key Republicans running for election Nov. 4 say the federal Affordable Care Act is putting Kentuckians out of work, but employment data and interviews with Kentucky-based economists suggest otherwise,” John Cheves reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The objects of Cheves’s scrutiny are a television commercial for U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, saying Democratic challenger Elisabeth Jensen “supports Obamacare, which has decimated Kentucky jobs,” and an opinion piece, by Sen. Mitch McConnell saying “There are so many stories about businesses holding back from expanding or hiring — or even cutting back on their workforces — it’s hard to even count.”

McConnell’s anecdotal assertion proves nothing, and Barr’s appears to be false. Cheves notes that Kentucky has gained 3,600 health-care jobs during the last year and quotes experts: Manoj Shanker, an economist at the state Office of Employment and Training, who said the law “is expected to be a net gain for the economy . . . and not just for doctors and nurses. It will mean the creation of jobs in other areas, including clerical staff for processing claims, more receptionists, more pharmacy technicians and clerks, more janitors, orderlies and ambulance drivers.”

Glen Mays, a University of Kentucky public-health professor who studies health economics, told Cheves, “I think the law is definitely going to stimulate the health-care segment of our local economies, especially where we’ve seen substantial drops in the numbers of people who are uninsured. People who were forgoing medical care because they did not have insurance now can access it.”

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