Walsh College Alumni Pessimistic About Obamacare’s Economic Impact

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tThe majority of Walsh College alumni believe that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will have a negative impact on the economy, a recent survey conducted by the Troy-based business school revealed.

t“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air, and as a result of that uncertainty, I think our respondents were very cautious in their responses,” says John Moore, a professor in Walsh College’s finance and economics department.

tThe bi-annual Walsh College Economic Sentiment Survey found that 73 percent of respondents anticipate the act will make things worse or much worse on the economy over the next five years. In comparison, only 52 percent of voters who participated in a survey by Rasmusseun Reports believe the health care system will worsen under the new law.

tMoore says he wasn’t surprised by the results considering the respondents represent a wide variety of business professionals, ranging from those who work for large corporations as well as small companies and entrepreneurs.

t“All of the participants taking the survey are alumni of Walsh College, a pure business school, and as a result, everyone taking the survey has a strong business background,” Moore says. “While the general population may have some opinions on the Affordable Health Care Act now that they’re starting to feel a personal participation in the process, business leaders were already (involved).”

tThe survey said most respondents cited concern about the cost structure associated with the act, and added that a number of firms have put a hold on hiring.

tOverall, respondents believe the Affordable Care Act will benefit some, but at a greater cost to the majority. As one unnamed alum said, “I work in health care and the cost associated with mandates has been high. …While I agree that our poor need affordable care, I would have liked to (have seen) a different approach. I think this will be squarely on the back of the middle class and will not do our economy any good.”

tOverall, survey participants were cautiously optimistic about the economic outlook, averaging a 1.45 ratio for the country as a whole and 1.05 for the state (a value greater than 1.0 represents a relatively optimistic stance and a value less than 1.0 denoting a relatively pessimistic outlook).

tRespondents were slightly less optimistic about state and national business conditions, however. In fact, over the last six months, the Walsh Business Sentiment Ratio declined nearly 40 percent for both the country (from 1.23 to 0.74) and state (from 1.05 now at 0.60).

tWhen asked how Obamacare would potentially impact the national and state economies five years from now, respondents were overwhelmingly pessimistic, with a ratio of 0.13 for the country and 0.14 for the state.

tMoore anticipates that the survey will include follow-up questions regarding the Affordable Care Act within the next year.

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