Gov. Robert Bentley says report that Medicaid expansion would create 30,000 jobs is ‘bogus’
al.com, Mike Cason, Nov. 27, 2013
MONTGOMERY, Alabama --- Gov. Robert Bentley said today he did not believe a study that showed Medicaid expansion would create about 30,000 new jobs in Alabama.
The governor made the comment in response to a question about why he was not being inconsistent in supporting incentives for companies to bring jobs to Alabama but opposing Medicaid expansion.
“Because the studies are all bogus,” Bentley said.
“The jobs are already there. You’re not creating new jobs. You’re not creating new people by bringing this money in. You have the doctors are already there. The nurses are already there. You don’t produce a new doctor in a year. I went to school 24 years to become a doctor. You don’t produce these type people immediately.”
The governor said he did not dispute that expanding Medicaid, which states have the option of doing under the Affordable Care Act, would create some ancillary jobs.
“I’m not saying it couldn’t create some jobs,” Bentley said. “That’s not the reason we’re doing this though. That’s not the reason we’re making this decision. We’re making this decision philosophically.
“And we’re just going to have to see how this plays out. I personally think the entire Affordable Care Act is falling apart. The people of this country do not like it. The majority of the people of this country do not like it. And I’m not going to be a part of it.”
The Affordable Care Act called for states to expand Medicaid to cover people making up to 138 percent of the poverty level, which in 2012 was $15,415 a year for an individual and $26,344 a year for a family of three.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year made expansion optional for the states. Alabama is one of 25 states that have opted against it so far.
The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion the first three years, through 2016. The federal share would then ramp down to 90 percent.
Studies have estimated that expansion would add about 300,000 people to Alabama’s Medicaid rolls. About 900,000 people in state, close to one-fifth of the population, already use Medicaid.
A study by the University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research found that Medicaid expansion would create 30,700 jobs over six years. The study was commissioned by the Alabama Hospital Association, which supports Medicaid expansion.