Earlier this month the U.S. Congress passed a budget resolution in the first steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the coming weeks congressional leaders plan to move forward in repealing key parts of the ACA and appear poised to delay passing a replacement plan. A repeal and delay sequence could cause 1 million Georgians to lose insurance in 2019 if the ACA goes away then.
Georgia is also projected to lose 71,000 jobs if federal subsidies lapse that help pay for marketplace insurance. With the loss of this federal money and fewer insured patients, health care providers would face higher uncompensated care costs. Georgia is expected to have uncompensated care costs of $2.3 billion in 2019 under the ACA, but if the federal health law is repealed, uncompensated care costs amount to $4.8 billion in 2019. Georgia health care providers would need to cut 21,400 jobs in 2019.
The health care industry is a major economic driver that helps create a variety of jobs, including in construction, real estate, retail, finance and insurance. So workers in those industries also stand to suffer. Seventy percent of the workers projected to lose jobs in 2019 in the event of an ACA repeal don’t work in health care. The overall economic contraction projects to a loss of $39.4 billion in Georgia’s gross state product and a loss of $67.3 billion business output from 2019 to 2023.
State and local tax revenue in Georgia also are likely to drop by $1.1 billion from 2019 to 2023. Declining revenues and increased demand for services if the ACA is repealed would make it even more difficult for Georgia to stabilize the health system and expand health coverage.
Georgia’s economy is enjoying a higher rate of growth than most other states, with an increase of 98,700 jobs from November 2015 to November 2016. Repealing the ACA without a replacement threatens these economic gains as well as state revenues. Georgia lawmakers recently convened a repeal and replace task force to guide the state’s response to federal health law changes. It is important for them to consider the impact of a federal ACA repeal and delay timetable on the economy and on the ability of Georgians to go to a doctor.