Billions and Billions Wasted

Conservative states rejecting Medicaid expansion are sacrificing billions of dollars and leaving millions uninsured.

Conservative States Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Are Sacrificing Billions of Dollars And Leaving Millions Uninsured

The fight over Medicaid expansion continues, with 24 conservative states still refusing to expand health care to low-income working residents simply because of politics. As we have documented before, these political games have real consequences: Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old working mom with three small children, died in late March because she fell into Florida’s Medicaid coverage gap and wasn’t able to access the care she needed.

A new report from the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation details the scope of these consequences in the number of people going without insurance and the economic losses to states. Both of these outcomes are the result of conservative lawmakers’ decision to reject federal funds to expand health care in their states. Here are the key findings, by the numbers:

  • 6.7 million: The number of residents that would have been eligible for affordable coverage projected to remain uninsured in the 24 states that have not expanded Medicaid.
  • $423.6 billion: The amount of money that states are sacrificing in federal Medicaid funds from 2013-2022. These are billions that would not only go to help make sure people have the health care that they need, they would also heighten economic activity and spur job growth in the states.
  • $167.8 billion: Amount of money from additional Medicaid funding that hospitals in these 24 states are projected to lose. This funding was intended to offset cuts the Affordable Care Act made to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates: more people covered could mean lower rates. But without the bigger pool of insured residents through Medicaid expansion, hospitals lose out big time. Some hospitals, especially in rural areas, are even being forced to shutter their doors.
  • 32.3 percent: The increase in Medicaid payments that hospitals in non-expansion states would see in 2016 if these states decided to go ahead with Medicaid expansion.
  • $13.41: The amount of federal funds, for every $1 the state invests, that would flow into these 24 states if they chose to go forward with Medicaid expansion. The study projects that states would have to pay a combined $31.6 billion and receive $423.6 billion from the federal government. The report also mentions that even these costs to the state would be offset: “Every comprehensive state-level budget analysis of which we know found that expansion helps state budgets, because it generates state savings and additional revenues that exceed increased Medicaid costs.”
  • 38 percent: How much the uninsured rate has dropped in states that have expanded Medicaid since September 2013, from 16.2 to 10.1 percent.
  • 9 percent: How much the uninsured rate has dropped in states that have refused to expand Medicaid since September 2013, from 20.0 to 18.3 percent.

BOTTOM LINE: The latest analysis underscores why conservative lawmakers need to put people over politics and expand Medicaid in their states. By denying health care to low-income working people, they are only hurting their citizens and their state economies.

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