The economics behind Medicaid expansion in Nebraska

October 21, 2018

OMAHA - A University of Nebraska – Kearney study shows that expanding Medicaid would benefit the state’s economy.

Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says there are a few “ifs” to consider. He says first, the federal government must meet their obligation of 90 percent funding by 2020 and beyond. He says with the rising deficit that could be a problem and funding could fall on the state’s shoulders.

Goss says, “Another problem is it will allow to pull state funding from other programs because of the requirement of the state matching dollars. One of those areas could be Medicaid funding for those recipients currently receiving Medicaid.”

Goss says another problem is that to some degree the federal government will be managing state spending. If federal obligations aren’t met, Nebraska could have to pull from other state programs. That could include state support from K-12 education to university and college spending.

There is also thought that those receiving Medicaid will have more money to spend to boost the economy. Goss that is true to some degree but the real impact would come from the increased economic activity in the medical sector and that spills over into local and state tax collections.

Goss says, “When you dig into the report, I don’t necessarily disagree with many the findings from the two professors but if you go beyond it there are some problems beyond their study.”

Nebraskans will vote on November 6th on whether or not to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 90,000 residents who would qualify.