As the election comes up, healthcare remains one of the primary issues in the debates. While each party has their own opinions about how to revive the nation’s healthcare system, both agree that the current system’s spending cannot be sustained. Yet this same uncapped Medicare and Medicaid spending may have helped keep the middle class afloat in the Great Recession.
Uncapped Medicare and Medicaid Spending – A Good Thing?
Thomas Geoghegan, a Chicago labor lawyer and author, most recently, of “Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?” wrote an August 26, 2012 article for Bloomberg News entitled “Healthcare Saves Economy.” He credits hospitals with giving jobs to high school graduates and to those with limited college, ranging from security guards and cooks to respiratory technicians. He cites a 2011 Harvard research report entitled “Pathways to Prosperity” which states that health care by itself added a half-million jobs during the recession.
Geoghegan adds that because Medicare and Medicaid were not capped, the programs did not shrink or even stagnate. The programs generated as many jobs during the recession as in a good economy as Medicare spending continues to rise.
Healthcare and the Economy
Geoghegan does a great job of showing how healthcare can further help the community. In addition to keeping people healthy, it keeps them employed. Payment for medical services puts money back into the economy and keeps hospitals open. This in turn ensures that patients have access to local healthcare.
As our healthcare system changes, it will continue to serve the community by treating illness and by employing local men and women, no matter who the president is.
Thanks for reading!
Rebecca S. Busch