Medicaid: Don’t Stop Believin’!

Of all the justifications proffered to support Medicaid expansion, none is more dishonest than the claim that broadening the program will contribute to “economic development.”

In today’s Albuquerque Journal, Sen. Howie C. Morales, a Democrat from Silver City, asserts that Medicaid is “a driver of economic growth,” adding over 4,800 social-services and healthcare jobs between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.

Not so fast. That industry has been increasing its workforce for at least the past decade. As the chart below shows, even during the Great Recession, as well as more recently — when the state’s population has been stagnant or in decline — employment has grown.


Source: Regional Review, Economic Research & Analysis Bureau, New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Winter 2014.

It’s not at all clear that Medicaid is causing a boost in social-services and healthcare jobs. What is clear is that the expansion lobby will make any argument, however specious, to justify its support for an unaffordable and poor-quality program.