The new offer, included in a massive $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that House Democrats are pushing through committees this week, could help provide health coverage to more than 2 million Americans. They are falling through the cracks of government programs amid the pandemic and economic downturn.
Most are adults without children who earn some money but stay below the federal poverty line.
In the vast majority of states, people in this situation could benefit from Medicaid, a public program that provides health insurance to low-income people and people with disabilities.
But in 14 states that have yet to expand Medicaid, they are still not eligible for this program. Meanwhile, they are still too poor to benefit from subsidized private coverage through insurance exchanges. Pennsylvania has already opted for expansion.
Edwin Park, a research professor at the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, said the House proposal could “shift the dial” in some states.
“For others, unfortunately, I think they can walk away from this very good deal,” he said.
Detention states include Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
Missouri has approved a Medicaid extension but has yet to roll it out; he would receive the extra money included in the House Democratic proposal.
Supreme Court judgment
The gap that many low-income people fall into was created when the United States Supreme Court overturned part of the healthcare law known as Obamacare. The court said Congress could not force states to expand their Medicaid programs.
But states have gradually signed on over the past decade, because Congress has provided them with such financial incentives to do so. Initially, the federal government covered the entire cost of adding childless adults and others to Medicaid lists. Today, it still covers 90 percent of the cost.
Across much of the South, as well as places like Kansas, South Dakota, Wyoming and Wisconsin, state officials have resisted calls to expand their Medicaid programs. Republicans in particular have opposed what they see as federal government overrun.
The last bar, however, would add a new twist. It would give recalcitrant states more money for patients than they are already covering whether they agree to expand Medicaid.
“Even if the States still pay 10% [for the new patients]they would always come out on top, ”said Robin Rudowitz, co-director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicaid and the Uninsured. “I think it changes the math.”
a analysis by the Left Center on Budget and Political Priorities shows that states would gain considerably under the Democratic proposal:
- Florida could receive $ 3.5 billion.
- North Carolina is reportedly online for $ 2.4 billion.
- Georgia could bring in $ 1.9 billion.
- Tennessee could raise $ 1.7 billion.
- Wisconsin could make $ 1.3 billion.
- Missouri could receive $ 1.7 billion.
- Kansas could make $ 330 million.
Texas is the biggest winner, with a potential of almost $ 6 billion. The extra money would end after two years.
How Medicaid Works
Medicaid is administered jointly by the states and the federal government. The federal government reimburses states a fixed amount for the money they spend on the program, and this rate varied by state.
States whose residents have lower average incomes have higher reimbursement rates. In March, Congress increased the reimbursement rate for all states as long as the COVID-19 emergency persists. The Biden administration has said it will extend this emergency at least until the end of 2021.
The House’s proposal would further increase reimbursement rates for new expanding states by 5 percentage points.
The new incentives would be part of a larger congressional effort to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Democrats’ rescue bill covers everything from the distribution of vaccines to supporting transportation networks to the distribution of stimulus checks.
This health emergency has also changed the way state officials view an expansion of health insurance eligibility, Rudowitz said.
“The pandemic has certainly highlighted the problems related to the need for health coverage, and you have more people. [in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid] become uninsured due to the economy, ”Rudowitz said.
Kansas, Wisconsin, Georgia
Indeed, many state officials were already advocating for the expansion of Medicaid before Congress’ latest proposal emerged.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is to push a proposal to provide health coverage to as many as 165,000 residents using the money generated by the legalization of sales of medical marijuana. Kansas is one of only three states that has not legalized medical marijuana.
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“After nearly a year of challenges brought on by COVID-19, we must use all the tools at our disposal to protect the health of our workforce and our economy,” Kelly noted when presenting his proposal last week.
“Obtaining 165,000 healthcare services in Kansans, injecting billions of dollars and thousands of jobs into our local economies and protecting our rural hospitals will be essential to our recovery from the pandemic. “
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, also a Democrat, should to push for an expansion of Medicaid as part of a budget he will release next week, but his previous efforts to do so have stalled in the Republican-controlled legislature.
In Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp secure approval administration in October to provide Medicaid coverage to people who otherwise would not qualify for the program. Applicants will need to prove that they worked or performed other qualifying activities for 80 hours per month to obtain Medicaid insurance.
Kemp said the outright expansion of Medicaid would be too costly, costing the state $ 550 million a year instead of the $ 218 million a year he says his plan would cost.
But two Atlanta-based plaintiffs for follow-up the federal government in January, arguing that Georgia’s plan “would cut a hole” in health care law. In addition, the Supreme Court of the United States announcement in December he would hear a case to determine whether states can impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.
States can resist
Park said the federal government is bearing the costs of the expansion and people with health coverage are asking for fewer public services. “The fiscal impact of [Medicaid] expansion has always been positive … But some states may resist for ideological reasons rather than looking at the numbers.
The Chamber’s Energy and Trade Committee will hold a audience on the changes proposed Thursday morning.
Other changes that lawmakers are considering include measures to ensure that women retain their Medicaid coverage for up to one year after giving birth; fully covering the cost of COVID-19 vaccines under Medicaid; and allow inmates to qualify for Medicaid 30 days prior to release.