Report: ACA repeal could lead to nearly 3M job losses

Dive Brief:

  • Repeal of the ACA could cause significant economic disruption, leading to 2.6 million job losses in 2019 alone and close to 3 million by 2021, according to research published by the Commonwealth Fund.

  • Around one-third of the job losses would occur within healthcare with the rest occurring in other industries, including construction, real estate, retail, and finance.

  • Meanwhile, healthcare has added a total of 406,600 jobs, more than in any other sector in 2016, Modern Healthcare reported.

Dive Insight:

Yet another analysis suggests dire consequences if the ACA is repealed without a replacement. The Commonwealth Fund based its numbers on the assumption that Congress reverses Medicaid expansion and eliminates ACA subsidies to purchase health insurance.

Job losses in the healthcare industry would most likely be the result of hospitals cutting staff due to fears over rising uncompensated care costs, as President Barack Obama recently noted in a NEJM article. The Urban Institute estimated these costs could total $1.1 trillion from 2019 to 2028.

“It's hard to see how [hospitals] could avoid layoffs if repeal increases uncompensated care,” Beth Feldpush, senior vice president of policy and advocacy for America’s Essential Hospitals, told Forbes contributor Bruce Japsen. “For hospitals, like most businesses, labor constitutes the largest cost of providing services.”

Outside of job losses, full repeal of the ACA could prove costly. Getting rid of tax revenue and Medicare cuts implemented by the ACA could cost up to $350 billion through 2027, according to financial estimates from the Committee for a Responsible Budget.

Filed Under: Health Law
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