Send to

Choose Destination
N C Med J. 2008 Mar-Apr;69(2):78-87.

Economic impacts of Medicaid in North Carolina.

Author information

Department of Economics and Finance, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA.



The purpose of this study is to provide estimates of the economic impacts of Medicaid program expenditures in North Carolina in state fiscal year (SFY) 2003.


The study uses input-output analysis to estimate the economic impacts of Medicaid expenditures.


The study uses North Carolina Medicaid program expenditure data for SFY 2003 as submitted by the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Industry structure data from 2002 that are part of the IMPLAN input-output modeling software database are also used in the analysis.


In SFY 2003 $6.307 billion in Medicaid program expenditures occurred within the state of North Carolina-$3.941 billion federal dollars, $2.014 billion state dollars, and $351 million in local government funds. Each dollar of state and local government expenditures brought $1.67 in federal Medicaid cost-share to the state. The economic impacts within North Carolina of the 2003 Medicaid expenditures included the following: 182,000 jobs supported (including both full-time and some part-time jobs); $6.1 billion in labor income (wages, salaries, sole proprietorship/partnership profits); and $1.9 billion in capital income (rents, interest payments, corporate dividend payments). If the Medicaid program were shut down and the funds returned to taxpayers who saved/spent the funds according to typical consumer expenditure patterns, employment in North Carolina would fall by an estimated 67,400 jobs, and labor income would fall by $2.83 billion, due to the labor-intensive nature of Medicaid expenditures.


Medicaid expenditure and economic impact results do not capture the economic value of the improved health and well-being of Medicaid recipients. Furthermore, the results do not capture the savings to society from increased preventive care and reduced uncompensated care resulting from Medicaid.


State and local government expenditures do not fully capture the economic consequences of Medicaid in North Carolina. This study finds that Medicaid makes a large contribution to state and local economic activity by creating jobs, income, and profit in North Carolina. Any changes to the Medicaid program should be made with caution.


The rising costs of health care and the appropriate role of government health insurance programs are the object of current policy debates. Informed discussion of these issues requires good information on the economic and health consequences of alternative policy choices. This is the first systematic study of the broader economic impacts of Medicaid expenditures in North Carolina.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center