Kentucky would lose 32,100 jobs in health care and other fields by 2026 under the U.S. Senate bill to replace Obamacare, a study released Thursday estimated.
A separate study estimated the average premium under the law would be 49 percent higher in Kentucky for a benchmark insurance plan for marketplace customers than under Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act.
The studies dovetail with others that have estimated significant impacts in Kentucky under the Senate bill, including a big increase in the number of people without insurance. For example, the Urban Institute projected that the number of uninsured people in Kentucky would increase from 6.3 percent of the population to 21 percent under the Senate bill.
Critics of the ACA argue it costs too much and blame the law for driving up premium costs and causing insurance companies to pull out of markets, leaving many customers with little choice of carriers.
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The U.S. House has passed a replacement bill. The Senate is working on a bill that differs, so it’s not clear what the final measure will include.
One key reason for the impact of the bills on Kentucky is that the state would receive billions less in federal Medicaid funding under either version than under the ACA.
The latest estimate on how the Senate bill would affect employment was from the Commonwealth Fund and George Washington University.
The study estimated there would be 1.45 million fewer jobs nationwide in 2026 because of changes under the law. Of those, 919,000 would be in health care and the rest would be in fields such as construction, real estate and government as the loss of health care spending spreads through the economy, the study said.
In Kentucky, there would be 16,800 fewer health-care jobs in 2026 and 15,300 fewer jobs in other fields as a result, for a total of 32,100.
The report said estimates were based on changes in federal funding to states, to consumers for subsidies and tax credits, and to businesses.
The Commonwealth Fund and GWU estimated in an earlier study that Kentucky would lose 16,500 jobs because of coverage reductions under the House version of the bill to replace Obamacare.
The new study also said nearly every state would have less economic activity under the Senate bill than under the current law.
Kentucky’s gross state product would be $3.28 billion less under the Senate bill in 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act, the study estimated.
The nationwide loss in gross state product would total $162 billion, the study said.
“Every state except Hawaii would have fewer jobs and a weaker economy,” the study said.
The separate projection on premium increases under the Senate replacement bill was from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The average increase across the country in a plan comparable to the benchmark silver plan under current law would be 74 percent, the study said.
The average 49 percent increase in Kentucky would be lower than in many states.
The study estimated the average cost in Alabama would go up 164 percent, for instance, and 108 percent in neighboring West Virginia.
The estimate was for average premiums that current marketplace enrollees would pay, after any tax credit, for the benchmark silver plan in 2020 under the Senate bill compared to Obamacare.
The Kentucky Department of Insurance announced last week that insurance companies have proposed rate increases under the current law ranging from 6.5 percent to 47.7 percent, and that people in some counties will have only one option for individual coverage.