Experts: Colorado’s Medicaid Expansion Is Costly, But A Boon To Economy

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Photo: Money and pills Medicaid

Two new reports offer insight into some of the unexpected consequences of Colorado's Medicaid expansion. Colorado was one of 32 states to expand the public health care program for the poor.

One report by the Colorado Health Institute analyzes the costs and benefits of the expansion. Another report from the Colorado Health Foundation assesses the impact of the expansion on Colorado's economy.

Emily Johnson of the Colorado Health Institute wrote the first report. It concluded that Medicaid's growth was larger and costlier than expected.

"So far, the federal government has been covering all of the costs for newly eligible Medicaid clients. But it will gradually reduce its contribution beginning next year. By 2020, the ongoing federal payment rate will be 90 percent," the report says.

Phyllis Resnick co-authored the second report for the Colorado Health Foundation. It found that the expansion has created more than 31,000 jobs, increased economic activity by $3.8 billion and raised yearly household earnings by more than $600. And that's expected to grow.

"Medicaid expansion, largely funded by the federal government, is already having and will continue to have a significant positive impact on the state’s economy," the report says.

They spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.

A note that the Colorado Health Foundation funds health reporting on CPR.