The Commonwealth Fund released a report Wednesday on the results of a study that focused on the economic and employment consequences of the American Health Care Act, and according to the report, Pennsylvania’s job losses would be the second highest in the nation.
The U.S. House of Representatives in May passed the Republican AHCA along a strong party line vote of 217 to 213. If the bill becomes law, the result would be 14 million more uninsured people in 2018 and 23 million by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Based on the CBO score of the legislation, the Commonwealth Fund studied the bill using a policy analysis model that forecasts regional economic effects. The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation established in 1918 that focuses on promoting a high-performing health care system through data analysis, according to the foundation’s website.
Its analysis of the AHCA concludes that in 2018 the nationwide number of jobs would rise by about 864,000 and states would experience economic growth, but the vitality would be short-lived.
After 2018, jobs would begin to decline, and by 2026 about 725,000 would be lost, according to the report. Gross state products would decrease by about $93 billion and business output would drop by about $148 billion.
By 2026, Pennsylvania would lose about 85,000 jobs, which is just behind New York’s projected loss of just more than 86,000 jobs, according to the report. About 52,000 of the lost jobs would be in the health care field. The gross state product would decrease by $8.9 billion and the business output would drop by $14.2 billion.
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, was among the House Republicans who voted in favor of the legislation. Thompson said the report is an assumption based on the CBO analysis, which is tasked with the difficult job of predicting human behavior in the marketplace.
“This is the same office that anticipated Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) exchanges would have more than 20 million enrolled,” Thompson said. “Yet, in 2016 they didn’t even have half that number.”
In March, Thompson told the Centre Daily Times that he would not vote for the Republican bill the way it stood, but when it came to the floor of the house in May with changes that he helped negotiate such as access to multiple providers and reduction of premiums, Thompson voted with his party.
Following the release of the report, Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement Wednesday that expressed his concerns about the AHCA and the Republican efforts to repeal the ACA.
“This report is just another example of the alarming approach Washington is pursuing on health care and our economy in the long term,” Wolf said.
The bill is now in the hands of the Senate, but according to multiple reports a new version of the legislation is being drafted by Republican Senators behind closed doors and without any public hearings scheduled.
No timetable has been set for a Senate vote prior to the summer recess beginning in August.