Obamacare supporters say Medicaid expansion would create thousands of jobs


By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Failing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will cost Florida tens of thousands of jobs, a group of economists appointed by President Obama says.

JOBS: The Council of Economic Advisors says expanding Medicaid would create 63,800 new jobs.

A new report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, called “Missed Opportunities,” is circulating among the state’s ACA supporters and fueling renewed public outcry to expand the federal-state social insurance program.

The report claims 63,800 jobs would be created through 2017 — $235,000 per job — if Sunshine State lawmakers would get on board and accept $51 billion in federal taxpayer money over the next 10 years.

Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, supports expanding Medicaid, though his critics say he hasn’t done enough to pressure reluctant state lawmakers.

“The Affordable Care Act has expanded high quality, affordable health insurance coverage to millions of Americans,” the report reads.

“If the 24 States that have not yet expanded Medicaid had done so as of January 1, they would have boosted employment by 85,000 jobs in 2014, 184,000 jobs in 2015, and a total of 379,000 job years through 2017.”

A no-brainer, right?

Jonathan Ingram, director of research for the Foundation for Government Accountability, a market-oriented think tank based in Naples, says those job numbers don’t provide the full picture of employment under the ACA.

“That’s only looking at half of the equation,” Ingram told Watchdog.org. “They’re saying all this money would come into the state and jobs will be the result of that, but they’re not considering money coming out of the state or the incentives that Obamacare creates,” he said.

An updated Congressional Budget Office analysis of the ACA’s labor market effect estimates a decrease of 2 million full-time equivalent workers nationwide by 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.

The CBO explains that workers will drop out of the workforce because of “new taxes and other incentives,” as well as “the financial benefits some will receive.”

“It’s not a net job creator, it’s a net job loser,” said Ingram.

The Council of Economic Advisors is composed of accomplished economists and has an official ring to its name, but it’s also chaired by a presidential nominee and staffed with executive appointments. It’s chaired by Jason Furman, a respected economist and 2008 adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign. Furman is also the former economic policy director for Obama for America, the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.

CEA chairs under President George W. Bush included economists associated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

“If federal money was the key to creating jobs then Mississippi would be the most prosperous state in the country,” said Tarren Bragdon, FGA president and chief executive officer.