The U.S. economy is steadily recovering from the recession, with the unemployment rate falling to 7.7 percent last month — the lowest rate since December 2008. And the increasing number of health care jobs continues to outpace job growth in other economic sectors. Through November, the economy has gained about 290,000 health care jobs this year.
In the debates over how to avert the fiscal cliff, Republicans have recycled Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan, which calls for gutting Medicaid. But this would only serve to hurt job growth, particularly for jobs held by women, according to the National Women’s Law Center:
— Nationally, Medicaid spending supports nearly 3 million health sector jobs held by women. — Nationally, 79.8 percent of Medicaid-supported jobs are held by women. — Medicaid creates the most jobs in New York (381,024), California (273,870), and Texas (209,577). — Even in smaller states with low populations, Medicaid still supports thousands of jobs held by women. Medicaid supports nearly 4,000 jobs in Wyoming and almost 7,000 jobs in both North Dakota and South Dakota.
As the NWLC report explains, these jobs indirectly support other jobs, like restaurants and coffee shops near hospitals. Women also make up the vast majority of lower-wage health occupations, so cutting Medicaid funding and eliminating these jobs would especially hurt low-income women. “Medicaid cuts would lead to job losses for women across the country, including low-income women who work as nurse’s aides, home health care workers, and other lower wage health care occupations,” according to NWLC’s report. “These losses would only slow down women’s economic recovery further.”