A report from a St. Louis health care think tank estimates that Delaware will lose 9,000 jobs if key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are repealed.
The report says the job losses would come not only in health care but also in construction finance and other areas.
The study, from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and The Commonwealth Fund, examined the impact of a potential January 2019 repeal of two parts of the ACA: the federal premium tax credits that help low- and moderate-income people purchase insurance on the health insurance marketplaces (also known as exchanges) and federal support for Medicaid expansion.
Congressional Republicans and have put the process in motion to repeal the legislation with no immediate replacement bill in sight. This comes amid unhappiness with the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Costs have continued to rise, especially for small businesses and individuals.
“Repealing key parts of the ACA could trigger massive job losses and a slump in consumer and business spending that would affect all sectors of state economies,” said lead author Leighton Ku, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute. “Cuts in federal funding would not only harm the health care industry and its employees but could lead to serious economic distress for states, including a $1.5 trillion reduction in gross state product from 2019 to 2023.”
One-third (912,000) of the total 2.6 million job losses would be concentrated in health care; nurses, health technicians, and other medical personnel would likely be laid off in 2019. The remaining two-thirds of losses would be in other industries, including construction, real estate, retail trade, finance, and insurance.
The study assumes that the savings from the spending cuts are not used for other purposes like infrastructure investment that might offset some of the job losses in some states.
The report claims the burden of the higher number of uninsured would fall heavily on hospitals that would have to pass on the costs of emergency and other care for those without coverage.
The findings of the report are expected to be widely disputed by those who believe that reforms, such as an ability to sell coverage across state lines, could lower costs and encourage more people to buy insurance.
Also, Republicans have claimed over the years that the Commonwealth Fund leans to the left and has ties to Democrats, leading to its reports being biased.
Foes of the Care Act also claim that the program is already headed for financial collapse and that repeal and reform would allow many to continue to get health care.
One fear voice by supporters of the Affordable Care Act is that consumers will be lured by low-cost insurance plans that provide little coverage for serious illnesses or accidents.
The ACA outlawed such policies, which in turn raised insurance costs.
There is little support for repealing other provisions of the act that bar denials for those with pre-existing conditions or allowing adult children to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26.
Those seeking repeal of the act have suggested the use of high-risk pools that are subsidized by other revenues.
Critics claim such pool would collapse under the weight of high health care costs from those who are the sickest and that not requiring everyone to have insurance would lead to a similar collapse and at minimum soaring costs.
The study also comes as a recent poll shows Americans deeply divided over the ACA, with only 25 percent for repealing the legislation without a replacement.