The Journal’s Quigley (sort of) gets it on Medicaid: it’s no economic engine

Regular readers of this site are likely aware of our frustrations with Albuquerque Journal business and economics writer, Winthrop Quigley. While Quigley does identify closely with the very liberal Voices for Children, in a recent column he (rightly) questioned their claim that “Medicaid is an economic engine” for New Mexico.

Back in November I testified before an interim committee of the Legislature saying much the same thing.

Does this mean Quigley suddenly “gets it?” Unfortunately not. While citing the groundbreaking Oregon Medicaid Study, he selectively cites the report’s conclusions. In fact, I posted a rebuttal to a previous Quigley column on Medicaid with further details on the study’s findings.

A central finding from the report was that “Medicaid has no statistically significant effect on employment or earnings.” This directly contradicts Quigley’s conclusion “It (Medicaid) helps keep people healthy, and healthy people are more likely to attend school and show up for work. Unfortunately, Quigley seems willing to embrace the obvious point that expanding a welfare program is no economic “stimulus,” but when it comes to the more fundamental question of whether Medicaid is worth its massive cost ($495.8 billion in 2014) or whether it it might be ripe for fundamental reform, that is beyond the pale.