A George Washington University and Commonwealth Fund report suggests Florida’s economy stands to lose big if Congress passes the current version of a measure repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Researchers estimate the Sunshine State could lose more than 80,000, two-thirds in the healthcare sector.
Using a Congressional Budget Office analysis and an economic model commonly used by governments and the tourism industry, researchers concluded Florida would lose the third most jobs in the nation as a result of the House bill.
Director of the university’s Center for Health Policy Research Leighton Ku said the losses would be spread beyond healthcare.
“Suppose that because now you’ve reduced the funding for healthcare a hospital says, ‘Gee, we thought we could renovate this wing’ or ‘We could build this new clinic,’ but now it says, ‘We can’t do this,’ ’’ he said. “Because of that, it’s not going to hire the construction company and the architects who would plan that out. They’re not going to put the medical equipment into it.
“So, there are fewer people who are employed at construction companies, at architecture offices (and) at equipment suppliers.”
Ku said, in addition, the repeal of certain income-based taxes in the ACA and the loss of individual subsidies for purchasing health insurance mean people will be spending a larger portion of their income on health care and less in other areas that drive the economy.
While the study finds states, like Florida, that did not expand Medicaid coverage would fare better in the short term, the Sunshine State would feel one the sharpest pinches over the next decade.
“Florida does have a somewhat older population. Because it has an older population, the way that the tax credits are being changed in the American Health Care Act essentially penalizes people that are old,” he said. “So, Florida is penalized because you have a larger share of old people.”
The Senate is looking at crafting its own bill, which Ku said would surely change his analysis.