Hospitals remind Congress they boost economy, jobs

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Only weeks after the fiscal cliff deal, the American Hospital Association released data that hospitals are a major contributor to a healthy economy.

As the second largest source of private sector jobs, U.S. hospitals employ nearly 5.5 million people. Considering the "ripple effect," hospitals support a total 15.4 million direct and indirect jobs--one in nine jobs, AHA said.

Hospitals also contribute more than $2.3 trillion in economic activity, including spending $702 billion on goods and services from other businesses.

"Congress should not overlook the economic contribution of hospitals as it considers further deficit reduction proposals," AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in a statement yesterday.

Hospitals' contribution to job growth and goods and services, however, might be jeopardized, according Umbdenstock, who suggested impending Medicare cuts to providers could hurt the economy.

Hospitals bemoaned the Tax Relief Act, signed into law earlier this month, for shifting costs to hospitals.

AHA Vice President for trends analysis Caroline Steinberg told HealthLeaders Media, "It's important that people understand that hospitals are not a drain on our economy. They are a driver." She added, "For every $1 you put into healthcare, you get $3.28 back."

Hospitals are slated to suffer a 27 percent cut to Medicare reimbursements in 12 months, following repeated stop-gap measures that delayed the reductions. A new Congress, however, offers some hope for a permanent fix with a sustainable growth rate repeal.

For more information:
- here's the AHA statement and report (.pdfs)
- read the HealthLeaders Media article

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