According to a recent study by the Center for American Progress , new federal funds from the recent health care legislation should create nearly 5,000 new jobs in West Virginia, thanks to significant investment in community health centers.
The Affordable Care Act will provide $11 billion nationwide to build new community health centers and improve existing ones. Most of the money ($9.5 billion) will allow for expansion and improved operations at the existing centers, while the rest ($1.5 billion) will go toward new construction.
Community health centers provide predominantly low-income, rural West Virginians
with comprehensive health care services, regardless of ability to pay. They work closely with members of high-risk communities to appropriately tailor their services.
In addition to expanding health services to patients around the state, community health centers are a potent source of economic stimulus. The federal dollars granted through health care reform will create a ripple effect, supporting neighborhood industries that sell their products to the centers and subsequently create jobs. The following example
illustrates how community health centers have direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts on their surrounding areas:
Imagine a health care center that purchases waiting room chairs from a local furniture store (direct effect). The furniture store in turn purchases paper from an office supplies store to print receipts and a truck from a car dealer to make deliveries (indirect effect). The furniture store, the office supplies store, and the car dealership all hire staff and pay them salaries to help run the various businesses. These employees spend their income on everyday purchases such as groceries, clothing, cars, and TVs (induced effect).
Funding from health care reform to community health centers will create 4,733 additional jobs around the state — 418 for every 1,000 residents. This influx will create an estimated $517 million in raw economic activity, as well.
We already know, thanks to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office
, that the recent health care reform will reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the next decade and expand health care coverage to 32 million Americans. But despite a lack of publicity, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will also greatly stimulate West Virginia’s local economies and expand care through prudent investment in community health centers.