(NewsUSA) – As Washington considers reworking Medicaid — the healthcare program for the poor — a crucial fact remains ignored: For every $45 billion spent in Medicaid every year by federal and state governments, long term care facilities are able to generate $529 billion in total economic activity, support and create over 5.4 million jobs, and return over $60 billion in taxes back to federal and state coffers.

“In this economic engine that is the American economy, long term care is one of the pistons, consistently firing even in the worst of hardships,” stated Governor Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).

According to a national economic impact analysis compiled by AHCA using Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN) data software, the long term care profession ranks as the nation’s 10th largest employer, above merchandise retail, food retail and both military and non-military federal government personnel. In 2010, these companies created 63,000 jobs while many other businesses struggled to stay afloat. Long term care facilities support industries and sectors statewide, from food services to private hospitals to insurance carriers.

The report underscores the important role nursing facilities play in the U.S. economy. Parkinson hopes the report will convince lawmakers to protect the funding streams that ensure these facilities can continue to play an important role in the national economy, saying, “If states cut Medicaid, that will have direct and drastic implications on not only our profession, but more importantly our ability to serve the greatest generation. The potential for increased job growth — a priority of every lawmaker in this country — is huge. Our profession must receive the appropriate funding needed for us to meet the demand of baby boomers in the coming years.”

For more information, visit www.ahcancal.org.