Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New report examines AHCA's impact on Ohio health-care jobs

By Mary Kuhlman
Ohio News Connection

A new report suggests the American Health Care Act would stunt some of the progress made in Ohio's growing health-care sector.

According to the findings from Policy Matters Ohio, private health-care sector jobs in the Buckeye State rose from about 11 percent to nearly 15 percent between 2000 and 2015.

Mike Uhl, president of Premier Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, said the AHCA would cost his organization more than $861 million in Medicaid cuts through 2026, which could mean reduced services and lost jobs.

"It's vital that we not overlook the impact of the American Health Care Act on jobs," he said. "We cannot overlook the role that hospitals play as job creators, nor can we overlook the connection between having a parent with a good-paying job and the positive impact that that certainly has on the family's health."

The report cited recent projections from the Economic Policy Institute that the AHCA would slow job growth compared with the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. The result in Ohio would be about 81,000 fewer jobs in the next five years.

In Scioto County in southwest Ohio, The Counseling Center treats people struggling with addiction. Its chief executive, Andy Albrecht, said the value of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act cannot be underestimated.

"This has been the biggest thing that's ever happened to us," he said. "Since we've had Medicaid expansion, our agency has created 67 new jobs. Those new jobs have resulted in $2.3 million worth of payroll, which has been very significant in southern Ohio."

About one in seven Ohioans works in the private health-care sector, according to the report.

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