In California, the Affordable Care Act is expected to create nearly 100,000 jobs and bump up economic output by $4.4 billion, according to a new study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.
Most of the anticipated job gains would be in Southern California with nearly 58,000 new jobs, the study finds. The Sacramento area would have the second most jobs with 13,500 new positions, followed by the Bay Area with 7,600 jobs and San Diego County with 6,500 jobs. The remaining 10,000 jobs would be spread throughout other counties.
“In the debate over the federal health care law, this study shows there has been more heat than light when it comes to understanding economic and jobs impacts,” says Jon Haveman, study co-author and chief economist for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “By focusing on expanding health insurance coverage, making our health care system more efficient and making our work force healthier, we can realize important employment and economic gains.”
According to the study, the increase in employment comes from an overall rise in economic activity because of the greater spending on health care and medical services. Southern California is expected to see economic activity increases by $3 billion while Sacramento County is believed to experience a net economic output rising by nearly $608 million.
These numbers consider the impact that provisions, such as the employer mandate, are believed to have on hiring and economic activity. Although the mandate requires large employers to provide health insurance or pay a fine, the study states that it is a “crucial tool” to expand health care coverage and help the economy.
“The Bay Area Council’s new economic impact report shows that making the insurance market fairer and more inclusive is an economic boon to the state,” says Julian Canete, president and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. “The report demonstrates how the federal health care law will help communities, such as California’s Latino-owned businesses and work force, by enhancing economic and health conditions to strengthen California’s economy.”
The study finds that with greater health care coverage, the Affordable Care Act will also grow the overall labor force by better maintaining their health and preventing their health problems, and workers could feel less discouraged from finding new jobs because of uncertainty surrounding health insurance.
“The Affordable Care Act provides an important framework for expanding health care coverage in a way that can boost employment, increase overall economic activity and make people healthier,” says Dr. Micah Weinberg, study co-author and senior policy adviser for the Bay Area Council.
According to the study, “the ultimate impact of health care reform, though — both in terms of its true economic implications and whether it achieves its substantive policy goals — depends heavily on implementation, which will require close partnership between the federal government, the states, and the private, charitable, and non-profit sectors.”
“The Bay Area Council is playing a leadership role in the business community in working closely with state officials and other key policy makers in implementing the Affordable Care Act in California, keeping the focus on reducing health care costs and improving public health,” says Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “These are the things that will help improve California’s business climate and keep us competitive in the global marketplace.”