Medicaid Spending Cuts Could Cause Mass Layoffs in Ohio
The healthcare bill drafted by the Republican-led Senate proposes massive spending cuts to the Medicaid program. In the absence of federal funding, Ohio’s biggest employers in the healthcare sector will be forced to lay off thousands of employees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more Americans in Ohio are working in the healthcare sector today than in manufacturing, which once dominated the job market in the state.
However, the Republicans’ proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (popularly called Obamacare) could severely hurt healthcare sector employment in the state. The Republicans are proposing to cut federal spending on the Medicaid program, which would force millions of Americans out of the government-sponsored healthcare program.
The State of Ohio had expanded its Medicaid program under the ACA, adding about 700,000 low-income or disabled Americans to the program.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the healthcare bill proposed by the Republican-led Senate will cut Medicaid spending by $772.0 billion in the next 10 years.
Consequently, the revenue that hospitals receive in the form of insurance reimbursements will fall, forcing them to cut back on their costs and downsize their workforce.
More than 81,000 jobs could be killed in the next five years if the Republicans’ proposed American Health Care Act replaces the Affordable Care Act. This would account for a 0.7% decline in Ohio’s overall employment.
If the bill is passed, thousands of Ohio residents will be left without funding to pay for their medical bills, which will then go unpaid at local hospitals and nursing homes.
Trinity Health System, a hospital in Jefferson County, Ohio, has about one in five of its patients covered under the Medicaid program. The CEO of the hospital has warned that, in the absence of the government insurance coverage, the hospital will lose money and will be forced to lay off staff.
The hospital is the biggest employer in Jefferson County, employing about 1,500 workers in full-time positions, and another 500 workers in part-time positions. In fact, the hospital employs more workers in the region than do the top 10 manufacturing companies combined.
Medicaid cuts will increase the treatment costs per patient for the hospital, forcing management to resort to cost-cutting and job cuts.
“After Decline Of Steel And Coal, Ohio Fears Health Care Jobs Are Next,” NPR, June 26, 2017.