Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Medicaid Expansion A Boon To Colorado's Economy

Who would have guessed that injecting billions of dollars would have any positive economic impact?

A new Colorado Health Foundation report says state expansion of the Medicaid program has created 31,074 new jobs and added $3.8 billion in economic activity.
The report concludes that "in the two years since implementation, expansion in the state has had a significant positive effect on the economy at no expense to the general fund" in the state budget.
Its findings:

• Medicaid expansion, largely funded by the federal government, is already affecting and will continue to affect the state economy positively.
• The number of jobs created by giving more people access to Medicaid will continue to grow. The report predicts a total of 43,018 jobs created in Colorado by the 2034 fiscal year.
• The state's economy is 1.14 percent larger because of Medicaid expansion. By fiscal year 2034, that will grow to 1.38 percent of the total economy, or an $8.5 billion increase.
• Average household earnings are $643 higher as a result of Medicaid expansion.
• The general fund will not incur any expenses associated with Medicaid expansion.

Unfortunately, one of the leading Republicans in the state senate is being a Gloomy Gus:

Kevin Lundberg, the Republican who chairs the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, laughed at the notion that Medicaid expansion is not costing the state anything.

He said, "What we've been doing is pulling down federal debt dollars" to bring more money into the state. But, he said, the $9.9 billion being spent on Medicaid "has an immediate, direct impact on the state budget as well."
The federal government would pay 100% of the costs for a medicaid expansion for the first several years, so I'm not sure exactly what Lundberg's talking about.

Regardless, at the very least, this is yet another example proving conservatives wrong about government spending killing jobs.

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