Health care = Jobs

California’s unemployment rate stayed flat at a troubling 12.5% in February 2010, according to new data released today.

Our state leaders need to focus on decisions that protect and promote jobs. Unfortunately, the Governor is proposing budget cuts just to health would cost the state’s economy more than 42,000 jobs.

Health Access California released a new report on Thursday detailing the impact on jobs of Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2010-11 proposed budget cuts to health care programs in California. Entitled, “Cuts to Health Care are Bad for the Economy,” the new report demonstrates that sweeping health care cuts in California would cost the state more than 42,000 jobs, at the very minimum.

The job-loss estimate is based on research by the University of California at Berkeley, which calculated that cuts (or investments) to health care services has the biggest “jobs-per-billion” impact than other budget solution, significantly more than tax increases on the high-income earners or an oil severance tax. That research is on the web at:
http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/californiabudget/budget_solutions_jobs10.pdf

Frankly, there is no place where you get more bang for your buck than investing in health and human services, both because of federal matching funds, and because benefits to low- and moderate-income families get recycled into the economy quickly. Nothing has a worse economic impact than cutting health and human services, which leads to lost federal funds and ripple effects in our health system and economy.

In addition to severe job losses, the Health Access report reveals that California would experience an estimated $2.7 billion loss in business activity across the state, thus further hindering California’s much-needed economic recovery at a time when joblessness is at its worst in decades.

Other findings showed that:
* The Governor’s proposed cuts to Adult Day Health Care would lead to a loss of more than 7,500 jobs across 327 statewide facilities.
* The Governor’s plans to eliminate In-Home Support Services (IHSS) would result in the loss of more than 370,000 home-care jobs across the state – even more than the total number of jobs lost across all sectors from January through December 2009.

Furthermore, the report shows that health care jobs are vital for California’s economic recovery. Not only is the health care industry a major source of jobs in California, with 12 of the 50 largest in-state employers directly involved in healthcare services; but the health care industry (alongside education) was the only industry sector to see an increase in jobs in California – adding nearly 23,000 jobs in 2009 alone.

The Governor’s proposal to slash $6.4 billion from California’s vital safety net couldn’t come at a worse time. When more and more families are struggling to get back on their feet, the Governor’s proposal not only decimates vital services for those Californians currently out of work, but also imposes severe challenges further hindering California’s economic recovery – including cuts to programs that would otherwise contribute desperately-needed Federal funds, such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.

A copy of “Cuts to Health Care are Bad for the Economy” is available online.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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