Here’s a summary of some of the studies:
A 2013 study done for Families USA, a liberal group that supported the Affordable Care Act, concluded Medicaid expansion would support approximately 71,300 new jobs in 2016 in Florida.
A 2012 Florida Hospital Association study said that if the federal government spends about $24.4 billion between 2012-23, it would lead to 54,288 new jobs over the 11-year period. About 38 percent of the jobs would be in the healthcare sector.
A 2011 study written by the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy predicted 65,000 jobs as a result of Medicaid expansion. The author is affiliated with CHAIN, a group that advocates for the poor.
In 2009 — a year before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law — the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured compiled findings from 29 studies in 23 states analyzing the role Medicaid plays in state and local economies. Kaiser found that “regardless of the economic impact model used, all studies have similar findings — Medicaid spending has a positive impact on state economies” — and that includes generating jobs.
While most of the experts questioning job growth focus on the healthcare sector, University of Chicago economist Casey B. Mulligan argues that increasing Medicaid will reduce employment because people will no longer need to work full time to get health insurance.
“Medicaid makes it less painful to have a low income, so people have less incentive to take actions to prevent their incomes from getting low,” he told PolitiFact in an email.
Finally, we interviewed Chris Lafakis, a senior economist at Moody’s who examines Florida’s economy, and sent him our findings from those who predicted job gains and losses. We should note Moody’s is a financial analysis firm that doesn’t have a position on the healthcare law. He said, based on Moody’s previous analysis, if all states opted in to the expansion (and they haven’t), the country would add 270,000 jobs over 10 years — including 10,000 to 30,000 more in Florida.
But even without the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare sector was growing “gangbusters” due to an aging population, Lafakis said.
So it may be complicated in the future to parse out job growth numbers and determine what extent they are a result of the Medicaid expansion or other factors.
“If you look at theoretically what should happen, it would suggest Florida will spend more money on healthcare and the rate of Florida’s economic growth will be marginally higher,” Lafakis said. “Yes, the 10,000 to 30,000 jobs figure is pretty small in the grand scheme of things, since Florida has 7.4 million jobs. But still, a Medicaid opt-in would help hospitals financially, boost state and federal spending and channel those funds to citizens with high spending rates.”