Expansion of Health Care Will Boost PA Economy, Hospital Study Finds

Chris Lilienthal |

Acting on the federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage will give Pennsylvania’s economy a real shot in the arm. As a new study from the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania shows, it will inject at least $3.2 billion annually into the state’s economy and support 35,000 to 39,000 jobs over the next seven years.

To put that in perspective, it is more than three times the jobs that would be created by building and staffing an ethane cracker plant in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The hospital association’s study, conducted by the Rand Corporation, found that the Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania will:

  • Produce more than enough personal income and gross receipts tax revenue to cover the state’s costs of the expansion.
  • Reduce the state’s uninsured rate from 12.7% today to 4.8% in 2016.
  • Generate at least $3.2 billion in annual economic growth ($23 billion through 2020).
  • Support 35,000 to 39,000 family-sustaining jobs.

Another study by Families USA, which we blogged about here, found that expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania would support more than 41,200 new jobs in 2016, increase economic activity in the commonwealth by $5.1 billion that year, and reduce spending on state-funded health care programs for the uninsured.

Accepting the federal dollars allocated to expand Medicaid health coverage in Pennsylvania is a win-win. It reduces the number of people who cannot afford health care, increases the number of jobs throughout the state, and strengthens Pennsylvania’s economy.