With news that the state lost over 2,000 private sector jobs since August and over 6,300 jobs in the last year, the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas emailed all candidates to let them know that expanding KanCare will create jobs and have an economic impact. Below is the letter that we sent to all candidates:
Creating jobs is a top priority for all Kansans. Unfortunately, today we learned that Kansas lost 2,100 private sector jobs since August and 6,300 private sector jobs in the last year. At the same time, state leaders have decided not to expand KanCare, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs and return hundreds of millions of tax dollars to our state every year.
Expanding KanCare is a pro-growth policy that will bring hundreds of millions of federal dollars to Kansas annually, which ripples through the state economy, creates jobs, and allows savings in other areas. Because expanding KanCare is a Kansas specific, budget neutral proposal, those benefits would require no investment by the state, compared to what it spends trying to boost Kansas’ economy in other ways. In fact, a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that aims to promote a high-performing health care system, estimated that the state would spend less on Medicaid expansion than on subsidies to business, which are also intended to promote economic growth.
The data is clear that expanding KanCare would create jobs and economic impact in Kansas. According to a report released in 2014 by researchers from George Washington University and Regional Economic Models Inc., expansion of KanCare could create between 3,500 and 4,000 new jobs, with most coming in the health care field at hospitals and nursing and residential facilities. In addition, expansion would generate job growth in other industries, including real estate, retail and construction. Without expansion, the state will forego more than $2 billion in business activity and $1.2 billion in gross state product through the end of this decade. With KanCare expansion the state’s economy will grow by an additional $300 million per year.
While projections show that expanding KanCare will create jobs in Kansas, we encourage you to look at results from other states. States that expanded Medicaid saw more job growth and lower health inflation, and spent less on social and health services which were unneeded once more residents had medical coverage, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis. In states that expanded, Medicaid spending grew by just 3.4 percent between 2014 and 2015 while those that did not expand saw spending rise by 6.9 percent, more than double that rate. Expansion states also have seen jobs grow at a higher rate, uncompensated care expenses fall and not as many rural hospitals at risk for closure. In addition, states that decided to expand Medicaid saw more job growth in the health sector. On average, the states that expanded Medicaid in January 2014 saw jobs grow by 2.4 percent during 2014, while jobs in states that did not expand grew by only 1.8 percent in the same year.
Next door in Colorado, a recent report found that Colorado’s economy supports 31,074 additional jobs due to Medicaid expansion. By FY 2034-35, that number will grow to 43,018.
Support for the expansion of KanCare is support for job creation and pro-growth economic policy. Kansas does not save money by refusing expansion — it simply gives up the opportunity to bring tax dollars back to our state. To date, we have forfeited over $1.47 billion dollars by not expanding KanCare. We have an opportunity to bring millions of our federal tax dollars back home to Kansas to create jobs, protect hospitals and improve health. You can learn more at www.expandkancare.com. We look forward to continuing this conversation in the coming weeks.
Alliance for a Health Kansas Steering Committee