CJ’s Dan Way reports on state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen’s Medicaid listening tour, which kicked off in Greensboro last night. Here’s what jumps out (emphasis mine):

Margaret Salinger, a practicing psychologist in Greensboro speaking in behalf of the state League of Women Voters, lobbied for Medicaid expansion. She said it would create 43,000 jobs, and bring $21 billion into the state.

Medicaid isn’t a jobs program, said Katherine Restrepo, director of health policy at the John Locke Foundation.

“It’s a public health insurance program for North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens,” she said.

I’m not sure where Ms. Salinger got her information; all I know is Cone Health CEO Tim Rice stated the same number in a recent N&R op-ed:

The reality is, not expanding Medicaid is costing North Carolina jobs and economic growth. Research commissioned by Cone Health Foundation and Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust concluded that if North Carolina closes our health insurance coverage gap, we could create 43,000 more jobs statewide. About half of those jobs would be in the health care sector; the other half would be spread across construction, retail, professional, the food-service sector and other local businesses. That’s real economic development that would benefit every county in our state.

Look I realize these are a lot of supposedly smart people performing these studies, supposedly without bias. Yet, where do they come up with these exact numbers? 43,000? Why not an even number like 40,000 or 45,000 or 50,000? Makes me think they believe throwing out an odd number like that adds credibility, as if they rally worked hard to narrow it down, when many of us know 1) nobody knows the number anyway; and 2) Medicaid IS NOT a jobs program.