Medicaid expansion could ignite 30,000 new jobs in state

Published 11:20 pm Saturday, October 19, 2013

An estimated 30,700 new jobs would be created over a six-year period if Alabama chooses to move ahead in increasing the number of individuals eligible for Medicaid coverage, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research commissioned by the Alabama Hospital Association. The jobs estimate is the mid-range prediction based on the number of individuals likely to sign up for the Medicaid coverage. If all eligible individuals enrolled, the number of jobs would increase to 51,918.

The estimate covers not only the health care jobs necessary to provide care to an additional 292,000 Alabamians, but also the jobs that would be created indirectly. The study predicts 11,290 jobs in health care and social assistance; 6,390 jobs in retail trade; 5,490 in professional, scientific and technical services; 1,423 in administrative and other support services; 1,247 in accommodation and food service; and 1,095 in the finance and insurance industry.

According to J. Michael Horsley, FACHE, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, the report builds on and adds to the study published in 2012 by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health. “This report takes the UAB study one step further by providing industry-level economic impact information, including jobs by industry.”

The report’s authors, Samuel Addy, Ph.D., and Ahmad Ijaz, utilized the three enrollment scenarios included in the UAB research that predicted the economic impact based on a low, intermediate and high take up on Medicaid enrollment. “The 30,000 jobs represent the intermediate take up and would create earnings of $1.3 billion a year on average and contribute an average of $2.1 billion each year to the state’s Gross Domestic Product,” added Horsley. “If you combine the impact of all industries over the six-year period, the report concludes the overall business activity would increase from $22 to $47 billion.”

Included in the Affordable Care Act was a provision for states to expand the number of adults eligible for Medicaid.