Saturday, April 16, 2011

How Will Virginia Benefit From Healthcare Reform?

(Originally posted on the National Physicians Alliance Virginia Local Network page, April 16, 2010)


The Kaiser Family Foundation has developed a resource to show the current status of health care coverage and access in each of the 50 states.  The overall site is here; the page detailing Virginia's information is here.  This data shows that Virginia has an overall lower % of uninsured non-elderly adults, slightly higher % of residents receiving health care insurance through their employer, and slightly lower % of publicly-insured residents compared to the nation overall.  This might lead one to ask how much Virginia stands to gain from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  Fortunately, the University of Virginia (UVA)'s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has tried to answer this question.

In a report titled "Economic Effects of Health Care Reform On Virginia", the center reports that:
  • Reform will have "significant positive employment effects for Virginia" with over 27,000 jobs created by 2019.  Most of these of these jobs will be in the healthcare field.
  • Healthcare reform will create a $3.3 billion increase in the state's GDP between 2010 and 2019.
  • The report suggests that the PPACA's potential to reduce health care costs extends its benefits to Virginia beyond the direct impacts noted above.  The report indicates that if health care costs can be controlled and these savings are passed along to employers then the employment benefits could nearly double.
If improving access to healthcare to our fellow Virginians isn't enough of a reason to support the PPACA, maybe these economic benefits will help.  People are more important than numbers, but sometimes numbers matter.  By either measure (access to care or economics), the reforms in the PPACA will benefit Virginia and Virginia's residents.

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