August 7, 2016


Medicaid Works : States that haven't expanded Medicaid are missing out on a good thing. (Chad Stone, Aug. 5, 2016, US News)

[M]edicaid works, as my CBPP colleagues explain in a new blog series of that name.

Medicaid, which Washington and the states jointly fund, provides health coverage to low-income families and individuals, including children, parents, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities. Since President Johnson signed Medicaid into law in 1965, policymakers have significantly expanded eligibility and closed many gaps in coverage, as Judith Solomon shows here.

Medicaid is now an essential and popular part of the nation's health care system, providing quality health coverage for 97 million low-income Americans over the course of 2015 - that's Fact #1 in Edwin Park's 10 Key Facts post. Fact #2: Medicaid and the new health marketplaces created under health reform have already helped cut the number of uninsured Americans from 45 million in 2013, before health reform's key provisions kicked in, to 29 million last year. Medicaid is a cost-effective program, with high participation, that provides significant financial support to low-income beneficiaries.

Health reform's designers envisioned a critical role for the Medicaid expansions in reducing the number of uninsured. They would fill a longstanding coverage gap for low-income adults without employer coverage who were not previously eligible for Medicaid and whose income is too low to qualify for the premium tax credits to buy health insurance in the new health marketplaces. States have flexibility to design their Medicaid programs, and the federal government pays the entire cost of covering the new Medicaid enrollees through this year - and no less than 90 percent thereafter for suitable expansion programs.

Many states have taken the opportunity to expand coverage for this neglected population. For several states, it has produced net savings for their budgets, partly through lower payments to hospitals for uncompensated care, as Jesse Cross-Call discusses here. States that expanded coverage have seen a substantially larger drop in the share of adults without health coverage than states that haven't (see chart).

Universal HSAs and National Health both cut health care costs and provide coverage of the whole demos.  One builds individual wealth so that retirement entitlements can be cut as well.  By choosing not to work towards the former with the President, the GOP has just hastened the latter.
Posted by at August 7, 2016 8:51 AM