AL Democratic Congressional Candidates Urge Lawmakers to Expand Medicaid

Dakota Layton | April 29, 2020
Health Banknotes
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On Wednesday, Alabama Democratic Congressional candidates, Phyliss Harvey-Hall (AL-02), Dr. Adia Winfrey (AL-03), and Rick Neighbors (AL-04) issued a joint statement urging state lawmakers to expand Medicaid.

The candidates declared, “The accelerating spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a crisis that threatens the health and financial stability of all Alabamians. It’s time for our state lawmakers to take action. We can safeguard our hospitals, stimulate our local economies, and protect Alabama families with the capital made available through Medicaid expansion,”

“Every meaningful study demonstrates that the investment offered through Medicaid expansion will improve our state’s economy while providing hardworking Alabamians with more health coverage options. We cannot risk more hospital closures and we can no longer refuse this economic stimulus. Denying Medicaid expansion when it was initially offered was bad business then. Denying it now is dangerous,” the statement continues.

“Blocking Medicaid expansion is neither pro-business or pro-family. Lawmakers who want what is best for Alabama’s families and economy must do what is right. We don’t have time to waste. Expand Medicaid now,” the statement concludes.

Alabama legislators have been reluctant to expand Medicaid ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. Governor Ivey believes that the central issue with expanding Medicaid is finding the state’s share of funding that would be required.

“It would be irresponsible to think about expanding Medicaid just for the sake of expanding Medicaid without having a complete and honest discussion about the source of stable funding to pay for the matching,” Ivey stated at a press conference in mid-April.

As of April 7, 2020, 14 states shave still chosen to not expand Medicaid. Louise Norris of healthinsurance.org points out some interesting facts about these states:

  1. “As a result of the failure to expand coverage in the 14 states, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates there are 2.3 million people in the coverage gap across 13 of those states (although Wisconsin has not expanded Medicaid under the ACA, BadgerCare Medicaid is available for residents with incomes up to the poverty level, so there is no coverage gap in Wisconsin).”
  2. States who have chosen not to expand Medicaid, “have been missing out on significant federal funding — more than $305 billion between 2013 and 2022.”
  3. “Just five states – Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee – would have received nearly 60 percent of that funding (a total of $227.5 billion) if they had expanded Medicaid to cover their poorest residents starting in 2013. The good news is that although the federal government is no longer funding the full cost to expand Medicaid, they’ll always pay at least 90 percent of the cost, making Medicaid expansion a good deal for states regardless of when they implement it (in other words, for every dollar a state spends to cover its Medicaid expansion population, the federal government will kick in $9).”
  4. “For residents of states that haven’t expanded Medicaid, their federal tax dollars are being used to pay for Medicaid expansion in other states, while none of the Medicaid expansion funds are coming back to their own states. From 2013 to 2022, $152 billion in federal taxes will be collected from residents in states not expanding Medicaid, and will be used to fund Medicaid expansion in other states.”

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