The Senate is expected to vote this month on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would lead to major cuts in federal assistance for health care and trigger economic disruptions and job losses in all 50 states.
Health care accounts for almost 1/5 of our nation’s economy, and major changes like the ones being considered by Congress would have devastating impacts on all aspects of the economy. In addition to causing massive revenue losses, the House’s so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA), by repealing ACA and cutting $834 billion from Medicaid, would reduce state and local tax revenues, cut gross state product by $93 billion, decrease state business output by $148 billion, and lead to the loss of almost 1 million jobs.
The Affordable Care Act has been knocked by its detractors as a “job killer.” Evidence shows, however, that job growth has been robust since the implementation of ACA. In the five years following implementation of the ACA, the U.S. economy gained nearly 14 million private sector jobs, all of which have been in full-time work. The health care sector alone created 1.4 million jobs since 2010 — one million in ambulatory care; 200,000 in hospital jobs; and 200,000 in nursing and residential jobs.
Now with ACA on the chopping block, researchers estimate nationwide employment loss of almost 1 million jobs by 2026 if the House bill were enacted. Every state would suffer job losses, with the highest drops in employment occurring in New Mexico (3.9 percent), Kentucky (2.9 percent), Oregon (2.3 percent), Montana (2.3 percent), and West Virginia (2.0 percent). West Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio are among the 18 states that would see employment losses of at least 0.5 percent of their current population under age 65.
In addition to job losses, repeal of premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion will lead to drastic economic losses in all 50 states. From 2019 to 2023, states will lose a cumulative $1.5 trillion in gross state product, $2.6 trillion in business output, and $48 billion in state and local tax revenue. Although most of these losses occur in the states that have expanded Medicaid, the 19 non-expansion states will also experience major setbacks. Medicaid Expansion states help spur economic growth in nearby non-expansion states. For example, although Maine has not expanded Medicaid, AHCA would cause the state to lose nearly 10,000 jobs by 2026. Medicaid expansion in other nearby states helps spur economic growth in Maine because business and individuals in those states also buy goods and services from Maine.
A Senate vote on AHCA is expected later this month. Call your senators and urge them to vote against AHCA.