As Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue their push to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a recent analysis predicts Florida could lose thousands of jobs as a result, with areas economically dependent on health care such as Pensacola likely impacted the most.
The report released by The Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan research foundation, calculated the ramifications of repealing two provisions of President Barack Obama's signature health care law — the law’s insurance premium tax credits and expansion of Medicaid eligibility. The study estimates that abolishing both components without a replacement plan would cost the state $54.4 billion in federal funding from 2019-23, 64,200 jobs in health care and 181,000 total jobs across all industry sectors.
Gov. Scott: Repeal Obamacare now
Leighton Ku, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University and the study's lead author, said areas with more health care professionals and facilities would presumably bear the majority of the brunt. That includes the Pensacola metro area, where health care and social assistance — the region's second largest economic contributor — accounts for $1.6 billion, according to labor market analyst Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.
Due to the ripple effect of money funneling from hospitals, pharmacies and medical professionals to other industries such as construction, retail trade and manufacturing, regions devoid of clinics would also feel the effect.
"Even if a region didn’t have any health care clinics, in all likelihood that area is still an area that produces some goods tied to health care and would experience some losses too," Ku said.
Officials from Baptist Health Care and West Florida Healthcare declined to respond to the report, citing its speculative nature until Congress officially authorizes a repeal. Florida Blue, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association affiliate and the only local carrier participating in the federal insurance marketplace, also declined to respond.