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Friday, July 7, 2017

Senate Health Care Repeal Bill Would Kill 1.45 Million Jobs

Dee Mahan

22 million more people uninsured would be bad enough, but a new study on the economic impact of the Senate’s health bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), found that the bill would also lead to 1.45 million fewer jobs nationally and weaker state economies in 2026. The negative impact would be felt in virtually every state.

A similar analysis of the House-passed American Health Care Act found that, too, would lead to job losses and weaker state economies. The negative economic impact of the BCRA would be even worse.

The health care industry would be hit particularly hard, with over 900,000 health care jobs lost. Job losses at that level would affect state health systems. That’s not good for anyone who needs health care, or who might need it in the future. That’s pretty much everyone.

Rural areas would be particularly hard hit. Rural health care providers and hospitals depend heavily on Medicaid, which the Senate bill would severely cut. The bills large Medicaid cuts ($772 billion) would make it harder for hospitals in rural areas to stay open. Hospital closures or downsizing can have a particularly devastating impact on rural communities, where hospitals are often among the largest employers.

Why the Senate Republican health bill would lead to job losses and weaker state economies

Federal health funds are used to purchase health care—to pay doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other health care providers. Those providers pay their employees, add staff, buy supplies, and pay for facility or equipment upgrades. Health care workers use their income to pay rent, purchase transportation, food and other services in the community. This generates local economic growth. Because people, goods and services travel, the effect is felt across state lines.

Federal health care spending reductions have the opposite effect. Federal funds are pulled out of states. People who lose or have less coverage put off getting care because they can’t afford it. When they have to get care, they may not be able to cover the costs. Hospital uncompensated care goes up.

The Senate bill has massive cuts in federal health spending—nearly $1 trillion. The study found that when those cuts really kick in starting in 2020, job losses start to accelerate and they keep piling up over time, reaching 1.45 million by 2026, the last year the study looks at.

A bad deal for states and their residents

We have a Senate bill that would increase the uninsured by 22 million, lead to large scale job losses and weaken state economies. We have a House-passed bill that would essentially do the same.

Make sure your members of Congress, governor and state legislators know the jobs and state economic impact of the Senate bill. The Republican plan for our health care system is not a good economic plan for any state.