Report: 22K jobs possible in Colorado by 2026 if Medicaid expanded

Expanding Medicaid could result in 22,388 new jobs in Colorado and increase economic activity by $4.4 billion by 2026, according to a report commissioned by the Colorado Health Foundation.

The report “Medicaid Expansion: Examining the Impact on Colorado’s Economy,” was completed by Charles S. Brown of Charles Brown Consulting Inc.

In addition, the report shows that expanding Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level will require fewer state dollars than not doing so.

Expanding Medicaid would also result in an increase in annual household earnings by an average of $608, according to the report.

Colorado’s economy is expected to grow with or without the expansion, but the report shows that expanding Medicaid would enhance that growth.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has said that Colorado hopes to find $280 million in Medicaid cost savings over the next 10 years so that it can afford to enroll tens of thousands of adults in the health care program for the needy.

The Affordable Care Act authorizes new coverage levels beginning Jan 1, 2014 that will allow Coloradans earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in Medicaid.

Right now, this amounts to $14,856 for an individual and $30,657 for a family of four. Colorado law already allows Medicaid to cover children and some adults in this income bracket. The new eligibility standards will enable the state to cover an additional 160,000 adults. Medicaid currently covers about 620,000 people in Colorado.

The federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs for the newly eligible Medicaid population through 2016. In 2017, the federal match rates will begin to phase out, and in 2020, Colorado will be responsible for 10 percent of the costs.


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Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR
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