Health

Gov. Steve Beshear said a report released Thursday shows Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion is having a positive impact on the state.

The Medicaid Expansion Report, compiled by Deloitte Consulting, analysed various impacts of the expansion through 2014. It also updated estimates from a 2013 whitepaper.

At a news conference, Beshear said despite doubters and opposition, the report demonstrates that Kentucky can afford the expansion.

“Today in conclusive fashion we bury that objection under an avalanche of facts,” he said.

A total of 310,887 people enrolled in Medicaid in 2014. The initial report only estimated 147,634 newly eligible people would enroll, along with 17,059 others who were previously eligible but had not enrolled.

The 2013 report also predicted that almost 17,000 jobs would be created by 2021 and 7,600 would be created in the first year of expansion.

Beshear said the expansion of Medicaid will result in the creation of more than 40,000 jobs with an average salary of $41,000 by 2021.

In 2014, more than 12,000 jobs were created with nearly half of them being in health care and social services. He said core jobs in the health sector will lead to jobs for accountants, data analyst and property managers.

“The combined effects of these added jobs will have a significant effect on our families and communities all across Kentucky,” Beshear said.

The net economic impact to the state is estimated at $30 billion over eight years, according to the report. The 2013 whitepaper estimated the economic impact at $15.6 billion.

State and local governments will see a fiscal impact as a result of expansion, Beshear said. The analysis found that between 2014 and 2021, there will be a $819.6 million impact compared to the $802.4 million estimated figure.

“If we had not expanded Medicaid, Kentucky would still have incurred about $100 million in additional cost out of general funds—not to mention the millions of dollars that would have hit Kentucky employers. We avoided those because we chose expansion,” he said.

Beshear said the expansion also fuels revenue for medical providers and reduces uncompensated care charges for hospitals. In 2014, providers received an additional $1.16 billion in revenue and hospitals saw uncompensated care costs decrease by $1.15 billion.

But the governor said improving the health of Kentuckians was the purpose of the expansion. He said new enrollees in expanded Medicaid sought primary health care at a 55 percent higher rate than traditional Medicaid recipients.

“Preventative care saves not only lives but millions of millions of dollars. And for those already with advanced diseases or chronic conditions, Medicaid expansion gives them the ability to receive regular and ongoing treatment in the appropriate setting,”he said.

Beshear said better health will have positive ramifications in Kentucky.

“Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own facts. And the facts are here, out clear and in front for all to see: Medicaid expansion is working,” he said.