In honor of the 50th anniversary of Medicaid, NWLC released a report today on Medicaid’s contributions to women’s economic security. The report examines Medicaid’s economic impact on women through a variety of ways, including covering birth control, protecting women and their families from catastrophic health care costs, and covering long-term care expenses. It also analyzes how Medicaid directly promotes women’s economic security by supporting jobs.

4 Million Jobs

Medicaid is known mostly for providing important health coverage to low-income individuals and families. Yet, what is often overlooked is Medicaid’s critical impact on job creation. Medicaid creates jobs by injecting money into state economies. For example, Medicaid pays providers – like hospitals, clinics and home health agencies – to deliver health care services. Providers then use these payments to hire and compensate their workers. This is especially important for women, as many health sector jobs, such as nurses and home health aides, are predominantly filled by women.

The report, an update from 2012, analyzed Medicaid’s state-by-state impact on women’s employment in the health sector.

Women disproportionately fill Medicaid-supported jobs. Overall, women fill approximately 80 percent of Medicaid-supported jobs. The majority of workers in each category of critical health sector jobs are women: women make up 80 percent of workers in ambulatory health care services, 78 percent of workers in hospitals, 80 percent of workers in nursing and residential care facilities and 82 percent of workers in social assistance.

Overall, we estimate Medicaid spending supports nearly 4 million women’s jobs. Medicaid creates the most jobs held by women in New York with 471,353 jobs. Closely following are California with 439,882 jobs and Texas with 283,072 jobs. But Medicaid supports thousands of jobs even in small states. Medicaid supports 4,552 jobs in Wyoming, 10,946 in Alaska and 8,049 in North Dakota.

Medicaid Will Remain Critical in the Future

The demand for these types of jobs will only grow in the future. With an aging population that is living longer than ever, health sector workers such as nurses and home health aides will be in increasingly high demand. If current trends continue, women will continue to hold the majority of jobs in this area of the health care sector and Medicaid will remain a critical supporter of women’s jobs in the future. 

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