Michigan Republicans — April 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Medicaid Expansion for Dummies, Part 2


Take note, Michigan GOP: It’s not just good for Michigan’s health. It’s good for Michigan’s economy, too.

I’m having trouble remembering the last time I heard Michigan Republicans talk about creating jobs, what with all their carrying on about defending religious liberty, protecting the unborn, railing against the LGBT community and … well, pretty much everything except creating jobs.

So let’s give them a nudge and make it easy for them to understand: Medicaid expansion will create jobs. It will increase economic activity and revenue. Which is what the GOP has always claimed is their top priority. Right?

In part 1 of this series, I wrote about why Medicaid expansion is good for the health of Michigan’s citizens. But I’m not entirely sure that’s enough to get through to those in the Michigan GOP who are dead set on crushing anything related to Obamacare. So it’s time for a primer on the positive economic impact of Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion will create jobs in the healthcare industry and beyond.
According to an analysis (pdf) of Medicaid expansion in Michigan conducted by Families USA and Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, the federal funding provided for Medicaid expansion would support approximately 18,000 Michigan jobs in 2016. (The analysis projects out two years, to allow for all eligible citizens to enroll and the full economic impact to kick in.)

Medicaid pays healthcare providers, which gives them more funds to buy related goods and services and hire more employees. But the jobs created by Medicaid expansion aren’t limited to the direct effect of funding specific to the healthcare industry. From the analysis mentioned above:

These dollars also have an indirect effect by triggering successive rounds of purchasing as they continue to circulate through the economy. In that way, they create earnings and jobs for people who are not directly—or even indirectly—associated with health care. For example, a hospital may spend a portion of its revenue on facility upgrades that employ large numbers of local construction workers. Similarly, health sector employees will spend their income on all kinds of products and services, such as dining at local restaurants or purchasing new cars. This, in turn, increases the earnings of local restaurants or car dealerships, which adds to the income of the employees in those businesses, and so on.

Medicaid expansion will boost economic activity in Michigan.
The analysis from Families USA and Michigan Consumers for Healthcare estimates that the new jobs created by Medicaid expansion, along with the increased federal funding, will increase economic activity in Michigan by nearly $2.1 billion in 2016. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.”

What’s more, the growth in economic activity and jobs will very likely increase state revenue. As the analysis points out:

More economic activity can mean more sales tax revenue for the state or localities. More jobs in the state mean that more people are employed, and it can also lead to higher family incomes. Both can increase state income tax revenue. This increased revenue … could be substantial and could help offset the state’s cost for a Medicaid expansion.

Then there’s the added benefit of reducing the costs of paying for treatment of the uninsured that’s currently passed on to businesses and consumers — an estimated additional $1,000 in premium costs per family in 2008. As more people are covered by insurance under Medicaid expansion, costs passed on to Michigan citizens and businesses that purchase insurance will go down. The result? More money those people and businesses can spend on other things, further stimulating the economy.

Do the math, Michigan Republicans.
In addition to providing coverage for as many as 730,000 currently uninsured Michiganders, Medicaid expansion would deliver measurable financial benefits to the state: $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid funds, an estimated 18,000 new jobs and $2.1 billion in increased economic activity.

They don’t seem to care much about the well-being of Michigan’s citizens, but there’s one thing we know the Michigan GOP does care about: money. So let it do the talking when it comes to the benefits of Medicaid expansion. Maybe dollars can knock some sense into them.

Want to speak out in support of Medicaid expansion? You can sign this petition created by the Michigan Democratic Party.