Accepting Federal Funds “Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Boost Maine’s Economy”

4,400 jobs, a $500,000,000 lift to Maine’s economy, and health care for nearly 70,000 Maine people

Augusta, Maine (Tuesday, January 14, 2014) New analysis from the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) finds that accepting federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) funds to extend health coverage to nearly 70,000 Mainers will also result in 4,400 jobs, a $500,000,000 annual boost to Maine’s economy, and deliver significant benefits in all 16 Maine counties. 

“Accepting these federal funds is a once in a lifetime opportunity to boost Maine’s economy, and Maine lawmakers should seize it,” MECEP executive director Garrett Martin writes in the report. “If a company announced that it planned to invest $500,000,000 annually in Maine’s economy and deliver 4,400 jobs, the governor and legislators would likely roll out the red carpet. In this case, the federal government is willing to pay 100 percent of the cost now and 90 percent of the cost in the future for tens of thousands of Mainers to receive health coverage. The feds are not asking for special tax breaks or other givebacks in return, and Maine lawmakers can choose to opt out at any time.”
This new issue brief, “Unprecedented Opportunity: Federal Health Care Funds Will Deliver 4,400 Jobs and $500,000,000 in Annual Economic Activity to Maine by 2016,” builds on earlier analysis contained in the March 2013 report “Federal Health Care Funding Makes Dollars and Sense for Maine ” by Maine Equal Justice Partners and MECEP. That report focused on economic impacts associated with $256 million in new federal dollars Maine would receive in 2016 if the state accepts federal funds to provide health coverage for almost 70,000 Mainers. This report also accounts for close to $82 million in federal funds the state has previously received that it will lose by 2016 if it fails to accept federal ACA funds.
“Nearly 4½ years since the Great Recession ended, Maine has recovered only about 9,900 of the 29,100 jobs we lost,” Martin added. “While accepting federal health care funds will not change these trends overnight, it will significantly enhance Maine’s recovery prospects. Continued refusal to accept federal funds will put Maine at an economic disadvantage relative to states that do, and put hundreds of existing jobs at risk.”
Analysis of the state’s Office of Program and Fiscal Review (OFPR) fiscal note on the 2013 legislative proposal to accept federal funds reveals that every dollar Maine spends on improving health care access through the Affordable Care Act will yield an additional $62 in federal funds. By comparison, each dollar Maine spends to match federal transportation and waste water treatment funds bring back $1.76 and $4.57, respectively.
To read the new report, for a county-by-county breakdown of economic impacts, or to read the March 2013 report,  click here.