Researchers examined the economic performance of 38 industries from 1987 through 2005 and compared changes in employment, gross economic output and the value added to the gross domestic product for industries where a large number of workers have employer-sponsored health insurance to those industries where few workers have job-based health insurance.
They found that, after adjusting for other factors, industries where a larger percentage of workers received employer-sponsored health insurance had significantly lower employment growth during the study period than industries where health benefits were less common. Industries with a larger percentage of workers receiving employer-sponsored health insurance also showed lower growth in their contribution to the gross domestic product over time.
"This study provides some of the first evidence that the rapid rise in health care costs has negative consequences for several U.S. industries," said Neeraj Sood, the study's lead author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Industries where more workers receive employer-sponsored health insurance are hit the hardest by rising health care costs."
RAND researchers underscore that their findings do not necessarily mean that rapid growth in health care costs results in large job losses in the overall economy, since losses in industries that provide a high proportion of their workers with employer-sponsored insurance are likely to be at least partially offset by gains in industries that provide a low proportion of their workers with insurance.
"Nonetheless, our findings clearly show that the rapid rise in health care costs has a measurable impact on many industries, and that it leads to a redistribution of workers from industries that provide insurance to their workers, such as manufacturing, to those that do not provide insurance," Escarce said.
MEDICA.de; Source: RAND Corporation