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By Emily Greenhalgh
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WASHINGTON – Rhode Island could lose up to $82 million due to defense sequestration and more than 3,000 jobs due to sequestration in Medicare spending, according to reports released by the Center for Security Policy and the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, respectively.
According to the reports released by the Center for Security policy, the Ocean State stands to lose $82 million in contracts due to the 10-year, $500 billion cuts to the nation’s defense budget under sequestration.
The reports provide a 2011 baseline to see how Rhode Island cities, towns, counties and congressional districts may be affected by the across-the-board sequestration cuts in the 2013 defense budget.
According to the Center release, these sequestration defense budget cuts will be an estimated total of 18 percent or more when combined with earlier budget cuts.
As a whole, using 2011 data, Rhode Island stands to lose $82.02 million of its $455.6 million in government contracts if an 18 percent cut is enacted or $41 million if a 9 percent cut is enacted.
Portsmouth would be hit hardest of all Rhode Island municipalities, losing $47.6 million due to sequestration. Middletown, Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket would round out the top five, standing to lose a cumulative $24.4 million due to sequestration. To see more information, visit forthecommondefense.org/reports/ri.
In a separate report released by the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association predict that Rhode Island could lose up to 3,000 health care and health industry jobs by 2012 as a result of the 2 percent sequester of Medicare spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The report, produced by economic impact study firm Tripp Umbach, predicts that reductions in Medicare payment for health care services will lead to direct job losses in the health care sector, reduced purchases by health care entities of goods and services from other businesses, which would lay-off workers, and reduced household purchases by workers who lose their jobs.
“Hospitals are major contributors to the Rhode Island economy,” Edward J. Quinlan, president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, said in a statement. “Cuts to hospital services could create devastating job losses and threaten the access to quality health care that Rhode Islanders need.”
“As the impact of these cuts ripples through the economy, jobs will be lost across many sectors beyond health care,” said the report. The report estimates that, during the first year of the sequester, nearly 2,000 jobs will be lost in Rhode Island.