A report out Friday says using $51 billion in federal money to expand Medicaid would boost Florida’s economy by 121,945 permanent jobs.
The Florida Hospital Association, which supports Medicaid expansion, released the report by the University of Florida Food and Resource Economics Department, which found that the impact of adding more than 1 million Floridians to the Medicaid rolls also would mean $5.41 billion in tax revenues for state and local governments over the next 10 years. The impact would be highest in metropolitan areas, with Miami-Dade County gaining 23,655 jobs, Broward 12,665 jobs, Palm Beach 8,455, Orange 8,019 and Hillsborough 7,377.
UF economics professor Alan W. Hodges said the effects would be felt in virtually all major industries. He also said the cost of not taking the federal money would be to put Florida at a competitive disadvantage. “There will be fewer jobs here that will go somewhere else, and Florida absolutely will be a loser in that game,” Hodges said.
FHA President Bruce Rueben, noting that Gov. Rick Scott and the Senate favor taking the money but the House does not, observed that with five weeks left in the legislative session, there’s still time. “There’s a lot of very, very serious consideration being given to this on the part of both houses,” he said. “So we are encouraged that both the Senate and the House are going to look at this very seriously and find a way to provide this coverage.”