There are only two weeks to go before the health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go live. This means there will be a lot of news stories about the law between now and Oct. 1, such as the report that was released today by two pro-Obamacare groups in Florida.
Prepared by Organize Now and the Alliance For a Just Society, the report, Creating Jobs and Revenues: Why Florida Medicaid Matters in Florida, states that expanding Medicaid would create 65,000 new jobs in the Sunshine State (although the Florida Legislature has shown no indication that it supports expansion.)
There are plenty of arguments to be made for or against the ACA. This report focuses exclusively on what the authors say Medicaid expansion would do for Florida and its respective counties. The study states that more than 199,000 jobs were created and $717 million in economic activity was generated in 2012 in the Sunshine State. It also says that 13,221 jobs in Hillsborough County were created due to Medicaid, and 7,734 in Pinellas County.
Advocates of the ACA are going to have to continue to bring such information to light as full implementation of Obamacare kicks in at the beginning of next year. That's because public polls continue to find that many Americans 1) have no idea what the bill contains, and 2) don't like what they know about it.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out on Monday found that by a 45 percent to 23 percent margin, Americans say Obamacare will have a negative impact on the country's health-care system. Thirty-four percent say they don't understand the law very well, and 35 percent say they understand only "some" of it. Thirty percent say they understand it well.
And get this statistic published by Mark Murray of NBC News in his write-up of the poll's results:
As it turns out, that 30 percent has more positive opinions about the health-care law (42 percent good idea, 45 percent bad idea), versus the 34 percent who don't understand it very well (17 percent good idea, 44 percent bad idea).
Stephanie Porta with Organize Now optimistically said that as the Oct. 1 deadline approaching, "we expect community groups will continue to educate the public." She also brought up the comparison to the launch of Medicare back in 1965, something that other Obamacare supporters have frequently invoked.
In that scenario, Congressional Republicans were equally as critical as today's GOP in "socializing medicine." However one key difference is that a lot of that opposition ended when the bill became law.
Part of how the ACA plans on bringing millions of uninsured people on to the rolls is by expanding Medicaid. The federal government's plan, however, relies on the individual states agreeing to a partnership to do so. That partnership includes a guarantee that the feds will pay 100 percent of the costs for the first three years and then a 90-10 split after that. But that has not convinced Republican legislators in Florida (nor in many other states), and the Legislature has so far rejected any and all attempts at agreeing to such a plan with the feds.
The Florida Legislature's failure to act comes even after Gov. Rick Scott announced his support of Medicaid expansion. But while Scott did nothing to lobby for its passage, other GOP governors with Republican Legislatures were somehow able to get such legislation passed. The latest is Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed such a bill today.