A Single Payer health care system would cause New York to lose jobs a rate not seen since the Great Recession caused by the 2008 economic crisis. Recent analysis conducted by Union College estimates that the New York Health Act would eliminate more than 160,000 jobs, which would drastically reduce employment in local communities throughout New York State. The economic fallout of adopting a Single Payer, government-run health care system would have the greatest impact in Western and Central New York, the Capital Region and portions of the Hudson Valley.
The report estimates that the elimination of private health insurance is expected to result in a loss of 58,092 jobs in the finance and insurance sectors, including 32,022 jobs in the insurance industry. An additional 71,601 jobs in other industries would be eliminated for a total of 161,715 lost jobs due to the New York Health Act. Most of the jobs that would be eliminated have largely been unaffected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As the state’s unemployment rate has remained above 8% since October 2020, losing those jobs would push that rate even higher.
According to the analysis, the economic impact caused by the New York Health Act would be substantial in upstate New York. Western New York would lose 19,874 jobs, while 12,971 jobs would be lost in the Capital Region, equal to 1.48% and 2.06% of total employment respectively. Central New York would lose 6,608 jobs or 1.28% of total employment and 11,845 jobs in the Hudson Valley would be lost or 1.03% of total employment. New York County would lose 64,527 jobs or 2.20% total employment. The report estimates that 16 of 62 counties in New York would experience job losses exceeding 1% of total employment.
Economists from Union College and the World Bank prepared the report utilizing pre-COVID economic data. The analysis builds on the 2018 RAND report of the New York Health Act for the New York State Health Foundation, examining the proposal’s economic impacts, which the RAND report acknowledged it did not take into consideration. In addition to the estimates of job losses, the report discusses the bill’s impact on entrepreneurship and innovation, the potential for individuals to migrate from other states seeking care, and potential tax flight by high-income individuals due to the imposition of highly progressive income taxes. The report’s estimates of tax consequences do not reflect the potential compounding impact of the recent budget actions that increased the state’s personal income tax levels.