Impact of expanded Medicaid studied
Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he plans to expand Medicaid coverage to people earning 138 percent of the federal poverty level in 2014. That percentage amount means individuals who made $15,415 or less in 2012 and families of three that made $26,344 or less would be eligible.
Medicaid eligibility is expanding to include more low-income adults because of federal health-care rules passed by Congress under the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Those rules go into effect in 2014. States can opt out of the federal Medicaid expansion program but may face withholding of federal funds, under a Supreme Court ruling in June that's related to the new law.
In all, an estimated 240,000 people in Colorado will become eligible for Medicaid under the expanded income levels, according to the Colorado Health Institute.
Across the state, Medicaid expansion is expected to result in 22,000 new jobs in the next 10 to 15 years, of which 14,000 will be created in the first 18 months, according to a separate study done by the Colorado Health Foundation. No local new job numbers related to Medicaid expansion have been calculated yet.
In January, Hickenlooper said Medicaid expansion is expected to cost the state $128 million during the next 10 years. At the same time, the governor said he has identified more than $280 million in cuts and savings to Medicaid.
The nonprofit Colorado Health Institute and several other nonprofit, private and public agencies are involved in studies and other aspects of federal health-care reform. The Colorado Health Institute is funded by four foundations - Caring for Colorado, The Colorado Trust, the Rose Community Foundation and The Colorado Health Foundation.
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