A strong case for Medicaid expansion in Kansas
The Kansas City Star
At long last, we have some numbers on the effect a Medicaid expansion would have on Kansas’ economy and its state budget.
Bottom line: It would create thousands of jobs and save the state money.
The Kansas Hospital Association has released a report it commissioned from the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University and Regional Economic Models, Inc.
Researchers say an expansion of Medicaid to the level called for in the Affordable Care Act would pump more than $3 billion into the state’s economy and create more than 4,000 jobs by 2020, with most of them materializing early on.
The hospital association’s study estimates that 169,000 additional Kansans would be eligible for Medicaid if the state increased its eligibility threshold from its current level of 32 percent of the poverty level to 133 percent.
Those numbers track pretty closely with an estimate from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Estimates from other groups range from 121,000 new enrollees to 253,000.
The hospital association’s report estimates that the economic activity generated by the Medicaid expansion would bring $112.5 million into the state’s cash-starved coffers by 2020. Meanwhile, the state would save $60 million over that period in expenses it now pays for mental health and expenses for some medically needy families.
The state would see big fiscal gains in the first three years of the expansion, as the federal government would pay 100 percent of the costs. After that, the state would have to pick up some of the cost, but not more than 10 percent. Over a seven-year period, the savings to the state would be $82 million.
It’s important to note that Washington’s offer to pick up 100 percent of the cost of the expansion runs from 2014 through 2017. It’s not three year from the date a state decides to opt in.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has been mysteriously quiet about whether he’ll accept the expansion or not. He loathes Obamacare, but he loves jobs and revenues. Maybe this latest study will help him move off dead center.