This is a great tactic for several reasons –the best reason of which is that it's true. Now, instead of throwing other healthcare constituencies under the budget cut express, AHA/ANA are making a strong case for why they should be left unharmed.
And the fact is, the healthcare sector is an incredible job-creating machine. Any town with a doctor's office, a critical-access hospital, or a level-3 trauma center has a stake in this game. AHA and ANA are wise to bring this to the attention of lawmakers, all of whom have any number of respected and influential healthcare providers in their districts who will be hurt by Medicaid or Medicare cuts.
A little perspective: President Obama went to Detroit last week to tout the auto industry bailout, which by some estimates saved about 1 million jobs. Hospitals employ 5.4 million people. The healthcare sector employs more than 14 million people. That does not include the millions of "ripple effect" workers whose jobs are affected by the healthcare sector.
As I wrote earlier this month, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that healthcare is creating jobs at a pace not seen in four years and is responsible for nearly one in four new jobs in the overall economy so far in 2011, and is on a pace to create 344,000 new jobs by year's end.
In September, I noted, healthcare employment rose by 43,800 jobs, representing roughly 42% of the 103,000 payroll additions in the overall economy. The 258,000 new healthcare jobs represent 24% of the slightly more than 1 million non-farm jobs created in 2011.