Beshear says Medicaid expansion is creating thousands of health-care jobs, but study will look at state’s future costs

Gov. Steve Beshear says the expansion of Medicaid in Kentucky under federal health reform appears to be creating thousands of health-care jobs, as predicted in a study that he used to justify his decision, he said in a special “One to One” on KET Friday, Dec. 26.

The study by the PriceWaterhouse Coopers accounting firm and the Urban Institute at the University of Louisville predicted that the expansion would put add $15 billion and 17,000 jobs to Kentucky’s economy in the first eight years. “They said, Governor, you can’t afford not to to do this,” Beshear told interviewer Bill Goodman.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services graphic

However, the cost will be greater because Medicaid enrollments under the expansion have been more than double what was expected in the first year, raising the amount that the next governor will have to pay. In the first three years, the federal government is paying 100 percent of the expansion’s cost; in 2017, it will pay 95 percent, and that figure will gradually drop to the reform law’s floor of 90 percent in 2020.

“We’re going to have an outside source go back to look at it again,” Beshear said. “There’s about 11,000 more jobs in the health-care industry and administrative support for the health-care industry than there was just a year ago, so that seems to be proving out.” He added, “Where better to spend the state’s money than to get a healthy population, a healthy workforce, and education?”

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