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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making the Faith Case for Expanding Medicaid

Sarah Bagge

Staff Writer

There are lots of reasons why expanding Medicaid to everyone with incomes below 133 percent of poverty (which is equivalent to about $25,400 in annual income for a family of three) is a good idea for every state. You can make the state budget argument, the economic argument, the health equity argument, the women’s health argument, and the education argument.

Add to that list the faith argument for providing high-quality health care to low-income families.

Last week, more than 100 faith leaders from national and state groups called on all governors to take up the Medicaid expansion. A diverse group of Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, and Jewish leaders stressed the moral importance of providing coverage, saying:

Depriving struggling families of health care is wholly incompatible with the teachings of our faiths and the ideals of our nation. Politicians who put political ideology before the well-being of their constituents neglect their moral duty as leaders.

They go on to tell the governors who are considering turning down the generous federal funding for the Medicaid expansion to prioritize the needs of low-income families, rather than using the expansion as a way to score political points:

We call on governors who are considering refusing or have already refused to accept the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to put the well-being of their constituents ahead of their political ideology and accept the Medicaid funding.

The faith argument is one more great way to make the case for expanding Medicaid!