AMA Sounds the Alarm on “Massive Job Loss” Under Sequestration

The government calls it “sequestration,” but various health care sectors may soon refer to it as “slash and burn.” A report n the American Medical Association’s amednews.com sounded the alarm last week, raising the specter of a whopping half million jobs lost in 2013.

Advocates have warned throughout the year that mandatory, across-the-board spending cuts to Medicare in 2013 were set to take effect, but a study by a Pittsburgh-based research firm called Tripp Umbach has brought new urgency. According to the AMA report, the study examined the likely economic fallout of the 2% cut to the Medicare program over the next 8 years, which experts say is the result of disputes over the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The AMA’s analysis of the Tripp Umbach study concludes that the automatic budget reductions amount to between $10.7 billion and $16.4 billion in annual cuts to Medicare, and will lead to 496,000 jobs being eliminated in 2013— and a loss of 766,000 jobs by 2021.

According to Charles Fiegl, writer for amednews, representatives of the American Hospital Association, which funded the study, joined the AMA, American Nurses Association, and researchers for a September 12 briefing at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss the report’s findings. Fiegl quotes Paul Umbach, senior researcher, as saying that sequestration “would pretty much wipe out all the gains that we’ve seen since 2008” and “You pretty much see a net decrease in as many jobs that have been created.”

Physicians would reportedly not escape the effects, with 62,000 jobs predicted to disappear. The losses would stem from “hiring freezes, layoffs, holds on capital projects, and delays in other practice investments.”

Click here for the full American Medical Association report.

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