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Healthcare Enrollment Leads To Economic Growth For New Jersey, Group Says

The Record (NorthJersey.com) — Wednesday, February 11, 2015

By LINDY WASHBURN
Staff Writer
The Record

With just four days until Sunday's deadline for signing up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, a Trenton think-tank that advocates full enrollment issued a report saying the law's economic impact is as important as its health impact.

The report from New Jersey Policy Perspective said the state has already received $2.2 billion in federal funds to pay the cost of insuring people who are newly eligible for NJFamilyCare, the state's Medicaid program, and to subsidize the insurance premiums of people who buy coverage on healthcare.gov.

That "will create an estimated 32,000 jobs," through next year, said Raymond Castro, senior policy analyst with the group. If everyone who was eligible for coverage signed up, another 28,000 jobs would be created from the influx of an additional $2.3 billion in federal funds, he said.

Along with New Jersey Citizen Action, the group urged local officials to view the healthcare law as a tool to support economic development. More than 2,100 jobs would be created in Passaic County and 2,200 in Bergen County if full enrollment was achieved, the report said.

"There are so few areas in which federal funds are available to help states," said Maura Collinsgru, health policy advocate with New Jersey Citizen Action. "New Jersey has a terrific opportunity to expand federal dollars coming into our state and to expand the impact those dollars have." The ripple effect of healthcare spending creates jobs in that sector and others, as health care workers spend on cars, homes, and consumer goods, she said. In addition, it helps the state budget, by freeing up spending on charity care for hospitals, she said.

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