Texas will shed more than 32,000 healthcare jobs next year if automatic Medicare cuts are enacted, according to a study by three major healthcare organizations.
The report, funded by the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, predicts that the 2 percent cuts to Medicare providers in January will cause as many as 766,000 health care and health-related jobs to vanish by 2021. The number of Texas healthcare jobs lost by 2021 was estimated to be nearly 50,000.
Nearly 500,000 U.S. healthcare jobs would be lost during the first year of the automatic cuts, according to the study.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that healthcare accounted for about one out of five U.S. jobs this year.
The Budget Control Act of 2011, also known as sequestration, would cut Medicare payment to hospitals and other providers by $11.1 billion in 2013, unless Congress passes legislation to prevent the cuts, according to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
About $109 billion would be cut annually from the federal budget through fiscal year fiscal year 2021, according to the sequestration plan. Defense spending would be reduced by 9.4 percent. Nondefense spending would be reduced by 8.2 percent, most entitlement programs by 7.6 percent and Medicare by 2 percent.
Medicare providers—including hospitals, physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies and hospices—would see reductions in their payments, but Medicare beneficiaries would not lose any of their benefits. Over the next 10 years, Medicare providers could lose as much as $120 billion.
The AMA, along with medical societies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 73 specialty medical societies, sent a letter last week asking Congress to nullify the sequestration cuts.
“The combination of a sequestration cut and looming Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment cut would not only impede improvements to our healthcare system, it could lead to serious access to care issues for Medicare patients as well as employment reductions in medical practices,” the letter said.
The fate of the sequestration—also known as part of the “fiscal cliff” that includes the expiration of the Bush tax cuts—will be in the hands of a lame-duck Congress after the presidential election. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner said he was he was not confident Congress could reach a deal before the budget sequestration will begin in January.
Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the new book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.