Arizona could take a big hit, both financially and in the job market, if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. How big? A new study claims it could be devastating to our state’s economy.
If Arizona loses all Affordable Care Act funding now funneled to patients, doctors, insurers and hospitals, it would create a nearly $5 billion hole in the state’s economy and cost more than 62,000 jobs next year, according to a new report.
That is the worst-case scenario outlined in a report commissioned by Children’s Action Alliance and completed by the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University. The report projected a slightly smaller dip in job creation and economic impact if federal funding disappears but the state keeps its current funding level for health care or redirects similar spending elsewhere.
Either scenario, however, could create something that Arizona has not experienced as far back as health job statistics reach — a “health-care recession,” according to ASU economist Lee McPheters.
According to Cronkite News, “Without Obamacare, the study said Arizona will lose revenue from Medicaid expansion funds and insurance premium tax credits. First, the health care sector will cut jobs and reduce salaries, the study said. Health care companies will limit purchases from suppliers and halt new construction. And when people don’t work, they don’t spend as much and contribute to the economy.
While the effects could be less if the law is replaced or repaired, the report underscores how the law helped Arizonans. More than 400,000 state residents gained health insurance, and the state’s uninsured rate fell by 36 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
These extra patients boosted Arizona’s health care industry, providing more jobs at hospitals, medical offices, labs, and nursing and residential care facilities and other businesses.
Another recent study paints a similarly grim picture in Arizona if the ACA is repealed. The Economic Policy Institute report claims about 40,000 jobs would be lost and our state would lose 3.4 billion in health care dollars.
The future of the ACA has been a contentious issue in our state. Premiums skyrocketed in Arizona (upwards of 116%) last year and many residents and politicians support a repeal of the health law. However, a lot of folks, including Governor Doug Ducey, also believe a replacement plan should be ready to go if and when the ACA is repealed.
We’d love to hear what you think. Do these studies paint a fair picture of what would happen in Arizona if the ACA is repealed without a replacement? Do you think it should be repealed at any cost? Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues making headlines will help us take another big step toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!