Medicaid study offers promising numbers

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Republican lawmakers in state legislatures across the country have made no secret about their feelings on Obamacare. End it, shoot it, bury it.

But while the GOP’s response to almost any initiative from President Barack Obama is fairly predictable, a nonpartisan study group released a report last week that should give North Carolina leaders a reason to consider at least one part of the Affordable Health Care Act in a new light.

The N.C. Institute of Medicine said the state likely would save $65.4 million from an expansion of Medicaid over the next eight years, thanks to high federal match rates, offsets and new tax revenues, according to a story by The Associated Press.

Another report – this one from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services – estimated that the influx of Medicaid funds would trigger an increase in hiring across the health care field. The additional doctors, pharmacists, drug makers and medical equipment sellers would add 23,000 jobs and about $1.4 billion to the state’s economy.

Maybe there are good, nonpartisan reasons to vote down the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina, but those are some pretty healthy nonpartisan numbers to overtake.

Gov. Pat McCrory said he is withholding a decision on whether North Carolina should expand Medicaid coverage. That’s a reasonable tack to follow.

If the legislature wants to turn its back on that kind of expansion, we’d like to know how the state will grow in other areas.