Hospitals tout economic impact

As hospitals scramble to avert payment cuts, the industry released data Wednesday that say hospitals create more than $2 trillion in economic activity.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) said hospitals employ more than 5.4 million people and spend roughly $342 billion on purchases from other businesses. The AHA cited figures from Avalere Health that pegged hospitals' "direct effect" on the economy at $680 billion in 2009 and their "total contribution" at more than $2.2 trillion.

Other healthcare groups have adopted a similar tactic as Congress looks for savings in the sector. Nursing homes and proponents of federally funded research have also recently released reports describing their impact on jobs and the economy.

Hospitals, though, are fighting especially hard. The industry recently launched a major ad campaign opposing Medicare and Medicaid cuts. Hospitals say they've contributed enough through healthcare reform and Medicare regulations.