Magazine article American Nurse

Reduced Medicare Spending Could Cost More Than 750,000 Jobs

Magazine article American Nurse

Reduced Medicare Spending Could Cost More Than 750,000 Jobs

Article excerpt

WORK FORCE

Cuts to Medicare payments can lead to a loss of up to 766,000 health care and related jobs by 2021, according to a new report released Sept. 12 by the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA). This job loss is the result of the 2 percent sequester of Medicare spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The sequester, established under the Budget Control Act in August 2011 and set to take effect January 2013, would cut both the defense and non-defense discretionary budgets equally, estimated to be about 8 percent across the board, to reach $1.2 trillion in savings. Cuts to defense and non-defense spending would impact jobs, public health, national infrastructure and educational programs.

The report, produced by Tripp Umbach, a firm specializing in conducting economic impact studies, measures the anticipated effect of these cuts in Medicare payments on health care providers and other industries. The Tripp Umbach model reflects how reductions in Medicare payment for health care services will lead to direct job losses in the health care sector; reduced purchases by health care entities of goods and services from other businesses, which in turn will lay off workers; and reduced household purchases by workers who lose their jobs. As the impact of these cuts ripples through the economy, jobs will be lost across many sectors beyond health care.

"Nurses have always strived to put patients at the center of a health care system that emphasizes prevention, wellness and coordination of care, the kinds of services that experts agree are essential to not only improving the health status of patients, but also lowering overall health care costs," said ANA First Vice President Cindy R. Balkstra, MS, RN, CNS-BC. "Cutting Medicare spending in a way that eliminates health care jobs is an extremely short-sighted way to contain the high cost of health care. …

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