The U.S. economy could lose as many as 766,000 jobs in health care and related fields by 2021 if Congress allows the Medicare cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to proceed, according to a new report.
The report was conducted by Tripp Umbach and released on Wednesday by the American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), and American Nurses Association (ANA). It examines the potential impact of the Budget Control Act's sequestration process, which resulted from the 2011 Congressional debt supercommittee's failure to reach a debt deal last year.
Under the sequester, Medicare spending will be cut by 2% starting next year, unless Congress reaches a new agreement to reduce the deficit.
Researchers forecast that more than 496,000 jobs will be lost during the first year of sequestration, and these cuts will impact health care sectors in every state. In California alone, the health sector could lose more than 78,000 jobs by 2021, according to the report.
"This new report shows that the sequester of Medicare spending will lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs," says AMA President Jeremy Lazarus, adding, "Coupled with the looming 27% Medicare physician payment cut, this 2% sequester will hurt patient access to care and will inject more uncertainty into our Medicare system" (AMA release, 9/12).
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