If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, Kentucky’s rate of job loss would be the second worst of any state with the elimination of an estimated 55,949 jobs or nearly 3 percent of the state’s workforce, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.
Kentucky’s job loss as a share of its employment would be higher than any other state except New Mexico.
The report also shows that repeal would take away $4.1 billion in federal spending from Kentucky’s economy while the tax cuts that would also be part of ACA repeal would only put back $677 million into the Commonwealth, largely benefitting a small number of extremely wealthy people. The report estimates the net loss of $3.4 billion would be worse for Kentucky than any other state relative to the size of the population.
Our state’s decision to expand Medicaid and cover more people resulted in a huge increase in federal funding and the evaporation of those dollars is the primary cause of the job loss. The $4.1 billion we receive in federal monies through Medicaid and premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the ACA is equivalent to over 2 percent of Kentucky’s GDP, a larger share than any state but New Mexico. Those dollars don’t just stay in the healthcare industry, but help pay construction workers, for example, who expand hospitals and clinics. That money also makes its way to industries like retail, food, and other services where nurses, doctors and other healthcare sector workers spend their salaries.