Expanding Medicaid In Every State Is The Next Healthcare Challenge
Last week was a great week for healthcare in America. In its decision to uphold premium tax credits available in states with federally facilitated marketplaces, the Supreme Court sent a strong message: the ACA is here to stay. Now that major court challenges to the Affordable Care Act are in the past, it’s time to focus on improving existing aspects of the law like Medicaid expansion.
Medicaid expansion is a main pillar of the Affordable Care Act that increases Medicaid eligibility to cover individuals making up to 138 percent of the poverty level—or $27,724 a year for a family of three. Expanding Medicaid helps ensure that people who make too much to be eligible for traditional Medicaid but too little to afford insurance of their own aren’t left without coverage. But thanks to the ACA’s first Supreme Court saga, states are allowed to choose whether or not to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid. The result has been almost half of all governors refusing to expand Medicaid eligibility for political reasons leaving more than 4 million people uninsured.
Not expanding Medicaid has costs both human and economic. If all 21 remaining states accepted Medicaid expansion 4.2 million residents would become newly insured. Moreover, conservative governors refusing Medicaid expansion are hurting their state’s economically. For every $1 a state spends to expand Medicaid $13.4 federal dollars will flow into the state helping hospitals deliver care and boosting state economic growth and employment.
This afternoon the president visited Tennessee—where the legislature has rejected the Republican governor’s Medicaid expansion proposal—to speak about the future of the Affordable Care Act. During the town hall, the president said, “This is about people. This is not about politics. This is not about Washington.” It is time for conservative lawmakers to put people over politics and expand Medicaid.
BOTTOM LINE: The ACA is here to stay. It is time for conservatives to stop fighting against the law at the expense of millions of their constituents.
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