A new report by the Colorado Health Foundation makes some pretty unhealthy claims about the state’s Medicaid expansion, and we’re here to debunk them. You’re welcome.
Claim 1: Colorado Medicaid expansion occurs at no expense to the state.
This is laughable. The Medicaid expansion is crowding out funds we should be using for education and infrastructure (read: roads) projects. Even worse, Medicaid expanded to include able-bodied men, so now a program meant for the most vulnerable among us is funding people perfectly capable of providing for themselves.
Claim 2: Obamacare Medicaid expansion created 31,074 new jobs.
The Medicaid expansion may have created new jobs; however, the calculation used by the Colorado Health Foundation fails to account for the jobs lost in other sectors of the economy. As Independence Institute Health Policy Analyst Linda Gorman noted in a recent Complete Colorado analysis of Medicaid expansion:
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were 2,582,000 people in the Colorado labor force at the beginning of 2016. Any estimated annual increase of less than 25,539 people would have a 9 out of 10 chance of being no different from zero. For the record, the jobs created are about the same as the number lost in oil, gas, and mining in 2015. And we don’t know whether these jobs are 4 hours a week jobs or 40 hour per week jobs. The RIMS II model cannot distinguish between them.”
Claim 3: Colorado household income increased $643 per year as a result of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
The problem with this claim is that it doesn’t take into account the increases in the cost of insurance due to Obamacare, which for many families have been extreme. If premiums haven’t spiked, deductibles have.
In other words, as Gorman noted:
“The private sector creates the value that supports government programs. Taking more money out of it to expand government programs reduces jobs, income, and individual well-being.”
Don’t fall for the hype surrounding this report by the Colorado Health Foundation. After all, a stated goal of the organization is “protection of policy and budgetary successes from the past few years, including, but not limited to, the Medicaid expansion, the Essential Health Benefits requirement, and the health benefit exchange.” It would be more newsworthy if Colorado Health Foundation didn’t support the Medicaid expansion.