AHA President & CEO Rich Umbdenstock

Where the Jobs Are

AHA President & CEO Rich Umbdenstock
Read the message about hospital jobs — jobs that stay in local communities — that are under assault.
AHA President & CEO Rich Umbdenstock

Hospitals are America's second-largest source of private sector jobs, and one of the top two employers in communities nationwide. More than 5.4 million people work in America's hospitals, from doctors and nurses to pharmacists and food workers. Each hospital job supports two more jobs, as hospitals and their employees purchase goods and services from other businesses.

Despite zero net August job growth in the U.S., hospitals created 8,000 new jobs, making them bright spots in the nation's dark employment picture.

But hospital jobs — jobs that stay in local communities — are under assault. Some in Congress and the Administration think cutting Medicare and Medicaid won't hurt as long as cuts are made to providers and not to beneficiaries. This misguided notion must be corrected.

For example, a 2 percent cut to Medicare alone would kill more than 194,000 direct and indirect hospital jobs by 2021.

Hospital care is a labor intensive endeavor; wages and benefits account for about two-thirds of the average hospital's spending. Even now, independent sources confirm that hospitals receive less than the cost of delivering care to Medicare and Medicaid patients. It's simple arithmetic: cut hospital funding even further, and jobs and patient care will suffer.

Cuts have consequences . . . for access to health care, and for the jobs communities need now.