If it becomes law, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, could cause an estimated 924,000 jobs to disappear by 2026 and trigger an economic downturn in nearly every state, according to a report published today by researchers at George Washington University’s (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) and The Commonwealth Fund. States that expanded their Medicaid coverage are likely to experience more severe losses.
“The AHCA would initially cause a brief spurt of economic growth from tax cuts, which primarily help those with high incomes,” said Dr. Leighton Ku, Director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the Milken Institute SPH and lead author of the report. “However, cuts in funding for Medicaid and health subsidies then begin to deepen, triggering sharp job losses and broad disruption of state economies in the following years. Within a decade, almost a million fewer people would have jobs. The downturn would hit the health care sector and states that expanded Medicaid the hardest.”
The report, The American Health Care Act: Economic and Employment Consequences for States, estimates that if the AHCA is enacted in its current form, gross state products—an economic measure akin to gross domestic product—could fall by $93 billion by 2026, and state business output could fall by $148 billion. The job losses and economic slowdown would not happen everywhere right away, since the tax repeals in the law would lead to an initial period of economic growth and job creation in some states and sectors. However, the uptick would be short-lived, as the legislation’s deeper cuts in funding for health insurance and job losses begin and then accelerate.GW