With the 2014 elections behind them, governors and other lawmakers in the nation’s Western states are taking a hard look at expanding Medicaid. In the nation’s largest state, Alaska, the new governor may soon expand Medicaid to more than 40,000 low-income Alaskans. Independent Governor William Walker, a former Republican who upset incumbent Sean Parnell in the November election, took office on December 1. During his campaign, Walker promised to expand Medicaid.
Why Assisters Should Encourage People to Apply for Health Coverage Even If They Fall in the Coverage Gap
Here’s something enrollment assisters and navigators should keep in mind this open enrollment period and beyond: People who fall into the coverage gap should still apply for health insurance—even though they will be denied for Medicaid and the financial assistance to help them with the cost of a marketplace plan. In this blog we explain why doing so is in the interest of consumers and why enrollment assisters should encourage all consumers to apply for coverage.
After the November elections, Congress will return for a final legislative session before closing out the 113th Congress. As a part of any year-end, must-move legislation, this session should include a four-year extension of CHIP—the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP provides affordable, high-quality health insurance for 8 million low- to moderate-income children.
A new study released by the UCLA Center for Health Care Research pokes holes in an argument that opponents of Medicaid expansion often use to justify their opposition: that giving uninsured people Medicaid coverage will lead to long-term runaway health care costs. Researchers at UCLA examined data from California’s early Medicaid expansion and found that that wasn’t the case.
New data reveal that because of Medicaid expansion, Kentucky residents are getting more life-saving screenings and other essential preventive health services, which leads to early diagnoses and higher success rates of treatment. Kentucky has grappled with some of the lowest health rankings in the country (for instance, in 2013, it ranked 50 in cancer deaths and 45 overall). But when the state accepted federal dollars to expand Medicaid to more of its residents, Kentucky began to work toward better health outcomes. In the months since Medicaid expansion, Kentucky has seen significant progress.
For millions of uninsured Americans, the midterm gubernatorial races in more than a dozen states will determine whether they can get access to affordable health care through Medicaid expansion.
Of the 23 states that have not expanded Medicaid, 15 have gubernatorial races in November—setting the stage for potential Medicaid expansion in 2015.
Anyone concerned about affordable health care in the United States is rightly focused on the upcoming second open enrollment period and Medicaid expansion in the states. But there’s another important effort that demands advocates’ attention—extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Now is the time to ramp up awareness of the funding crisis threatening CHIP and enlisting the support of lawmakers to defend it. If Congress does not act in the coming year, millions of children will be left without affordable health insurance next October.
In most states, the health care sector is among the industry sectors with the largest employment. Health care jobs tend to pay more than a state’s median wages, and growth in this sector can have a positive economic effect on other areas of a state’s economy. Many organizations, ours included, have written about the effects of Medicaid expansion on a state’s economy. Recently, Missouri (a state that has not yet expanded Medicaid) compared its employment growth in the health care sector to that of select Medicaid expansion states.
Last week, Paul Ryan—House Budget Chairman and the likely incoming chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee—released a plan proposing the broad reform and streamlining of the nation’s safety net programs for the poor. Tellingly, the plan (an outline that is reportedly intended to portray a softer side of conservatism) sidesteps the budget proposals put forth by Ryan over the past four years that have actually been voted on and passed by the Republican-led House.
The evidence of Medicaid’s positive impact on hospitals is growing. A recent report from the Colorado Hospital Association found that hospitals in states that have expanded Medicaid are providing free care to fewer uninsured patients. Such care, also known as “charity care,” occurs when patients cannot pay their hospital bills, and represents a significant drain on hospital resources.