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New study says Healthy Michigan adds 30,000 jobs a year

Michigan faces a physician shortage by 2020
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Michigan faces a physician shortage by 2020

What happens to the state’s economy when 600,000 more Michiganders get health insurance, thanks to the state’s Medicaid expansion – AKA the Health Michigan plan that’s part of the Affordable Care Act?

According to Dr. John Ayanian, professor and director of the Institute of Healthy Policy and Innovation the University of Michigan, you get about 30,000 new jobs a year.

"There's been a lot of concern that the Affordable Care Act has been a job killer in the United States,” he says. “And when we look at this from the perspective of Michigan and the Healthy Michigan plan, it's actually the reverse."

He’s the lead author of a new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, looking at whether the plan is a plus or minus overall for both the state’s budget and Michigan’s economy.

Most of those new jobs are in hospitals and with health care providers, but there’s also a larger ripple effect that starts with the low-income individuals and families who are now covered.

"People who were not insured before and were paying for some of their own healthcare services, can now use those funds to pay for their rent, their utilities, their food,” he says, “and not be faced with the levels of medical debt they previously had to carry."

Plus, he says, it saves the state money overall, thanks to more tax revenue and less spending on other healthcare programs aimed at low-income people. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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