Last week, the Obama administration — in the run-up to the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, when perhaps not a lot of people were paying attention — released a study. It calculated that because the Florida Legislature has not gone along with Gov. Rick Scott’s call, after initially opposing the idea, to expand the state’s Medicaid health insurance program as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, it will cost Florida 63,000 jobs that otherwise would be created between 2014 and 2017.
The Medicaid-produced study by the president’s Council of Economic Advisers calculated the possible job growth from Medicaid expansion in Florida through 2017, because that is the period during which the federal government would cover the full cost of the state’s additional Medicaid costs if it expands the program. After 2017, Washington is supposed to cover no less than 90 percent of a state’s added Medicaid costs, but skepticism about that pledge — and, no doubt ideology and partisanship — is one reason the Legislature has said no to expansion.
Our standard response to things like the Council of Economic Advisers’ estimate of post-Medicaid-expansion job growth is to question such figures, whether they come from the left or the right, Democrats or Republicans. Take the job-creating power of tax-rate cuts. We believe lower tax rates, in general, make businesses less reluctant to hire. We would question, however, whatever job-growth number people advocating tax-rate cuts offer. We were equally doubtful of the job-growth numbers that accompanied the tidal wave of “stimulus” spending by the federal government following the 2008 financial crisis, and believe that skepticism has been proven correct.