Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to provide millions of Americans access to affordable healthcare. In return, states receive 100 percent of federal funding to cover those costs for the first three years and no less than 90 percent federal support for those costs in the years following. Taken together, if all 24 states that haven’t expanded coverage did so, about 5.4 million uninsured Americans would gain access to health insurance coverage by 2016.
This leaves state officials facing a critical decision: play political games and continue to block Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act or put partisanship aside and bring in much needed funds to allow millions of citizens access to healthcare. It should not be a difficult choice. Now is the time for elected officials to follow the example of Governor John Kasich in Ohio and Governor Jan Brewer in Arizona to put politics aside and expand Medicaid.
As Nebraska State Senator Jeremy Nordquist said:
“It’s often overlooked that Nebraska has a high number of uninsured in rural counties. Without expansion, rural hospitals will face growing financial challenges, which will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in the services they provide and – we are hearing – a real risk of these critical hospital closing their doors. The good news is that the Nebraska Legislature is unique. We are nonpartisan, unicameral and constantly find ways to work together to move our state forward. On this issue, there is a strong bipartisan majority that supports expanding Medicaid. Providing access to quality, affordable health care should be a priority for all of us who represent the ‘good life’ in Nebraska. If all legislators and our Governor truly care about growing our economy and strengthening our health care system, we will pass Medicaid expansion in 2014.”
Here’s a sample of some coverage from the last week about local leaders and organizations across the country encouraging leaders to put politics aside, and improve access to quality healthcare by expanding Medicaid:
Washington Times: White House PR blitz hits states that rejected Medicaid expansion The Obama administration’s all-out public relations push to sell its health care reform law increasingly is targeting individual governors, who will bear much of the blame, the White House says, if millions of poor Americans remain uninsured. Administration officials Monday joined with state and local Democratic leaders in North Carolina to put pressure on Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, to expand Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare. Under Mr. McCrory, North Carolina is one of two dozen states that so far have opted out of that expansion, a crucial building block of the Affordable Care Act but one that became voluntary as a result of a Supreme Court decision last year. LINK
McClatchy: White House, N.C. Democrats press state to expand Medicaid The White House enlisted two top North Carolina Democrats on Monday to urge Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature to reconsider their opposition to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. “Medicaid expansion is a smart choice for states,” White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said during a telephone news conference along with Durham Democrats, Mayor Bill Bell and state Sen. Floyd McKissick. Earnest said that states would save money “over and above the expense of expanding Medicaid.” Bell said that in Durham, the state’s fourth largest city, 61,000 people would get insurance if the expansion went through. LINK