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Medicaid Expansion Archives — Protect Our Care

Ohio Is The Next Stop On President Trump’s Medicaid Madness Tour

Washington, DC — Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved Ohio’s request to implement work requirements on its Medicaid program. In their waiver request, Ohio officials predicted that roughly 18,000 people will lose their Medicaid eligibility. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued a statement in response:

“Ohio is the next stop on the Trump administration’s Medicaid sabotage tour. The work requirements approved by the administration will have disastrous effects on Ohioans. By Ohio’s own admission, nearly half of the people with coverage through Medicaid who will be subjected to work requirements will lose their health care; this is similar to the consequences we’ve seen in Arkansas where 18,000 people have already had their coverage stripped away from them. It’s high time for the administration to stop playing accomplice to states who are intent on denying people health care and start working on policies that will lower costs and improve care for all Americans.

CMS Administrator Verma Makes Clear the Administration’s War on Medicaid Expansion is Far From Over

Washington, DC – After CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated in an interview with Politico today that a once-rejected policy of drastically limiting Medicaid expansion is once again “under review,” Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“There’s no limit to the lengths this administration will go to sabotage Medicaid. Administrator Verma’s comments about revisiting the disastrous policy of allowing states to sabotage Medicaid expansion is just the latest step in their war to undermine our health care. From supporting so-called work requirements like those in Arkansas, which have already stripped coverage from 18,000 people, to advocating supporting the outright repeal of Medicaid expansion and calling for over a trillion dollars in cuts in their latest budget block granting – the Trump administration’s opposition to Medicaid is as hostile as it is downright cruel.

“It’s clear as daylight that giving states ‘flexibility’ when it comes to Medicaid expansion is just doublespeak for denying people coverage. No administration has done more to undermine Medicaid, and Administrator Verma’s latest comments underscore their continued desire to gut it.”

Protect Our Care Releases New Report Detailing the Threats Republican Policies Pose to Rural Health Care in Michigan

Legislation Cosponsored by Senator Gary Peters Would Help Expand Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities, Addressing the Unique Problems Outlined in New Report

Washington, DC — A day after Senator Gary Peters joined a group of senators to introduce the SAME Act, a bill that would benefit rural communities by providing each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds regardless of when it chooses to expand the program, Protect Our Care released a new report, “A Tough Row to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Michigan’s Rural Health Care in the Dust.” The report looks at how Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and relentless attacks on Medicaid expansion have done damage to rural residents of the state, who face both a lack of coverage and a lack of care in their communities.  


Read the report here.

“Our report shows how President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have stopped at nothing to wreak havoc on our health care, resulting in especially devastating impacts in rural America,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director at Protect Our Care. “Premiums have risen, coverage has been lost, and rural hospitals face constant uncertainty as rural health care is threatened. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and Senator Peters’ leadership on the SAME Act is a major step towards encouraging more states to expand Medicaid and ensuring rural Americans will have access to the health care coverage they so desperately need.”

By The Numbers: Rural Health In Michigan


11 percent of Michiganders living in rural areas are uninsured, compared to 9 percent of Michiganders living in nonrural areas.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the adult uninsured rate has fallen by 11 percent in rural parts of Michigan.

25 percent of Michiganders living in rural areas have health coverage through Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act led to a $571 million reduction in Michigan uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, Michigan hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $571 million, or roughly 45 percent.

634,300 Michiganders became newly eligible for coverage when Michigan expanded Medicaid.

18 rural hospitals in Michigan are at a high financial risk of closing. This represents roughly 25.4 percent of the state’s rural hospitals.

In Michigan, where lawmakers expanded Medicaid, one rural hospital has closed since 2010. The one hospital that did close did so two years before the state expanded Medicaid:

Cheboygan Memorial Hospital (MI-01, closed in 2012)

Protect Our Care Releases New Report Detailing the Threats Republican Policies Pose to Rural Health Care in Virginia

Senator Mark Warner’s SAME Act Would Help Expand Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities, Addressing the Unique Problems Outlined in New Report

Washington, DC — A day after Senator Warner introduced the SAME Act, a bill that would benefit rural communities by providing each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds regardless of when it chooses to expand the program, Protect Our Care released a new report, “A Tough Row to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Virginia’s Rural Health Care in the Dust.” The report looks at how Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and relentless attacks on Medicaid expansion have done damage to rural residents of the state, who face both a lack of coverage and a lack of care in their communities.  


Read the report here.

“Our report shows how President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have stopped at nothing to wreak havoc on our health care, resulting in especially devastating impacts in rural America,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director at Protect Our Care. “Premiums have risen, coverage has been lost, and rural hospitals face constant uncertainty as rural health care is threatened. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and Senator Warner’s leadership on the SAME Act is a major step towards encouraging more states to expand Medicaid and ensuring rural Americans will have access to the health care coverage they so desperately need.”

By The Numbers: Rural Health In Virginia


19 percent of Virginians living in rural areas are uninsured, compared to 12 percent of Virginians living in nonrural areas.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate has fallen by 6 percent in rural parts of Virginia.

17 percent of Virginia living in rural areas have health coverage through Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act led to a $78 million reduction in Virginia uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, Virginia hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $78 million, or roughly 26 percent.

Since expanding Medicaid last fall, almost 200,000 Virginians have signed up for coverage. Since enrollment for Medicaid expansion began in November, nearly 200,000 Virginians have signed up for care. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Urban Institute estimate that that number will continue to increase overtime, ultimately resulting in more than 400,000 people gaining coverage. Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid is expected to reduce the uninsured rate by 3.3 points — from 14.2 percent to 10.9 percent.

In Virginia, where lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid until last year, two rural hospitals have closed since 2010. These hospitals include:
Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County (VA-09, closed in 2017)
Lee Regional Medical Center (VA-09, closed in 2013)

Protect Our Care Releases New Report Detailing the Threats Republican Policies Pose to Rural Health Care in Alabama

Senator Doug Jones’ SAME Act Would Help Expand Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities, Addressing the Unique Problems Outlined in New Report

Washington, DC — A day after Senator Doug Jones introduced the SAME Act, a bill that would benefit rural communities by providing each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds regardless of when it chooses to expand the program, Protect Our Care released a new report, “A Tough Row to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Alabama’s Rural Health Care in the Dust.” The report looks at how Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and relentless attacks on Medicaid expansion have done damage to rural residents of the state, who face both a lack of coverage and a lack of care in their communities.  

Read the report here.

“Our report shows how President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have stopped at nothing to wreak havoc on our health care, resulting in especially devastating impacts in rural America,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director at Protect Our Care. “Premiums have risen, coverage has been lost, and rural hospitals face constant uncertainty as rural health care is threatened. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and Senator Jones’ leadership on the SAME Act is a major step towards encouraging more states to expand Medicaid and ensuring rural Americans will have access to the health care coverage they so desperately need.”

By The Numbers: Rural Health In Alabama


19 percent of Alabamians living in rural areas are uninsured, compared to 16 percent of Alabamians living in nonrural areas.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate has fallen by 9 percent in rural parts of Alabama.

24 percent of Alabamians living in rural areas have health coverage through Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act led to a $112 million reduction in Alabama uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, Alabama hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $112 million, or roughly 18 percent.

314,000 Alabamians could gain coverage if the state were to expand Medicaid. By failing to do so, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Urban Institute estimate that 314,000 Alabamians are being denied coverage through the program. If Alabama were to expand Medicaid, it is estimated that the uninsured rate would drop from 17.5 percent to 12.5 percent.

21 rural hospitals in Alabama are at a high financial risk of closing. This represents roughly 50 percent of the state’s rural hospitals.

In Alabama, where lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid, five rural hospitals have closed since 2010, with a sixth expected to close in March.

These hospitals include:
Georgiana Medical Center (AL-02, will close in March 2019)
Florala Memorial Hospital (AL-02, closed in 2013)
Elba General Hospital (AL-02, closed in 2013)
Chilton Medical Center (AL-06, closed in 2012)
SouthWest Alabama Medical Center (AL-07, closed in 2011)
Randolph Medical Center (AL-03, closed in 2011)

Protect Our Care Praises Effort Led by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) to Support Medicaid Expansion

The SAME Act Will Lead to Expansion of Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities

Washington, DC–Today, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Doug Jones (D-AL), among others, introduced the States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act, which would provide each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds, regardless of when it chooses to expand the program. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, praised the legislation in a statement:

“Medicaid expansion has been one of the most successful facets of the Affordable Care Act, providing millions of Americans with the health care coverage they so desperately need. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and has helped rural hospitals keep their doors open. The SAME Act will not only give all states that enacted Medicaid expansion the same funding benefits, it will incentivize more states to follow suit. Under the leadership of Senators Mark Warner and Doug Jones, the SAME Act is a major step toward ensuring better access to care, lowering costs, and keeping rural hospitals open.”

BACKGROUND:

Medicaid Expansion Is A Lifeline To Rural Communities. The Affordable Care Act opened the doors to Medicaid expansion, which has significantly expanded access to health care in rural communities, reduced rural hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, and helped rural health providers keep their doors open by allowing states to expand Medicaid coverage for adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Medicaid expansion allowed 1.7 million rural Americans to gain coverage who had not previously been eligible.

Following Medicaid Expansion, The Uninsured Rate In Rural Parts Of Expansion States Decreased By A Median Of 44 Percent. In rural states that expanded Medicaid, the uninsured rates dropped significantly after the ACA became law:

  • In Montana, the uninsured rate dropped from 19 to 8.5 percent between 2013 and 2016.
  • In Kentucky, the uninsured rate dropped from 16.3 to 7.2 percent between 2013 and 2016.
  • In Arkansas, the uninsured rate dropped from 17.8 to 9.1 percent between 2013 and 2016.
  • In West Virginia, the uninsured rate dropped from 14.2 to 8.8 percent between 2013 and 2016.

By Reducing Uncompensated Care Costs, Medicaid Expansion Means Hospitals Have Greater Financial Security. Medicaid expansion also drastically reduced the amount of costs that a hospital absorbs for any treatment or service not paid for by an insurer or patient, known as uncompensated care.. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that “states that expanded Medicaid to low-income adults under the ACA saw both larger coverage gains and larger drops in uncompensated care: a 47 percent decrease in uncompensated care costs on average compared to an 11 percent decrease in states that did not expand Medicaid.” CBPP concludes that these declines in uncompensated care were “almost certainly” the result of the ACA’s coverage gains.

A June 2018 Protect Our Care Analysis Found That The Vast Majority Of Rural Hospital Closures Since 2010 Were In States That Had Refused To Expand Medicaid. Between 2010 and June 2018, 84 rural hospitals closed. The vast majority of those rural hospital closures, 77 percent, occurred in states that refused to expand Medicaid. Nearly 90 percent of the rural hospitals that have closed since 2010 were located in states that refused to expand Medicaid by the time of their closure. Only 10 out of 84 rural hospitals closed in states after they had expanded Medicaid; of hospital closures in states that expanded Medicaid, nine closed before the state expanded the program. Since Protect Our Care’s June report, even more hospitals have closed. The Scheps Center Rural Health Research Program tracks that 97 rural hospitals have closed since 2010.

Back At It Again: Trump Administration Hostile to Medicaid Ignored Rules That Protect Patients


Washington DC — Today, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Trump administration is scrambling to overhaul Medicaid by requiring burdensome work requirements, but are failing to enforce federal rules directing states to analyze the devastating impact such requirements will have on millions of Americans who rely on this life-saving program. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:   

“The actions by this administration are egregious, but unfortunately par for the course considering President Trump has put people in charge of Medicaid who are simply out to destroy it. Failing to enforce rules requiring states to access the impact of Medicaid work requirements shows that the Trump administration doesn’t care who their policies hurt. This is part and parcel to Trump-led Republican sabotage agenda: they oppose Medicaid expansion — which would provide health care coverage to millions more Americans, support so-call ‘block grants” — a euphemism for slashing coverage, and are pushing ‘work requirements’ – which are little more than gotcha paperwork meant to kick eligible people off the rolls. Medicaid is the nation’s largest health insurance program and is more popular today than ever before. These senseless work requirements are already jeopardizing health care for thousands of low-income families — nearly all of whom are already working — and the Trump administration is breaking every rule in the book in their rush to implement it as just another deliberate attack on American health care.”

Background:

IN STATES WHERE SIMILAR RULES HAVE TAKEN EFFECT, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE LOST CARE

  • Results from Arkansas confirm that Medicaid work requirements are fundamentally bureaucratic hurdles, threatening access to health coverage for thousands across the state. “A review of monthly data related to the new requirements released by the Arkansas Department of Human Services shows that from September through December 2018, over 18,000 people were disenrolled for failure to comply with the new requirements for three months.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/17/19]
  • This summer, a federal district court blocked Kentucky from imposing similar rules for the negative effects it would have on Kentuckians. Said the court in its ruling, “[Secretary Azar] never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid. This signal omission renders his determination arbitrary and capricious. The Court, consequently, will vacate the approval of Kentucky’s project and remand the matter to HHS for further review.”
  • In Indiana, 25,000 people with health insurance through Medicaid were dropped from coverage because they were unable to pay their premiums. The Washington Post reported, “About 25,000 adults were disenrolled from the program between its start in 2015 and October 2017 for failure to pay their premiums, according to state reports. Yet, state officials estimate that based on surveys of recipients, about half of those who were disenrolled found another source of coverage, most often through a job…In addition to those who were disenrolled, another 46,000 adults who signed up for Medicaid during 2016 and 2017 were not accepted because they did not pay their initial premium, the state reported.”

WORK REQUIREMENTS ADD ADMINISTRATIVE HURDLES, MAKING IT HARDER FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR CARE TO GET IT

  • Requiring People On Medicaid To Prove They Are Working Adds An Administrative Burden That Is Hardest On Low-Income Americans. “[Administrative hurdles] may be especially daunting for the poor, who tend to have less stable work schedules and less access to resources that can simplify compliance: reliable transportation, a bank account, internet access.  There is also a lot of research about the Medicaid program, specifically, that shows that sign-ups fall when states make their program more complicated.” [New York Times, 1/18/18]
  • Documentation Requirements Increase The Chances That People Will Lose Care, Simply Because They Have Trouble Navigating The Process. “There is a real risk of eligible people losing coverage due to their inability to navigate these processes, miscommunication, or other breakdowns in the administrative process. People with disabilities may have challenges navigating the system to obtain an exemption for which they qualify and end up losing coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/16/18]

THE VAST MAJORITY OF  PEOPLE WITH MEDICAID COVERAGE WHO WHO CAN WORK ARE WORKING

  • 60 percent of nondisabled people with health coverage through Medicaid have a job and are working, including 42 percent working full-time.
  • 51 percent of working adult Medicaid enrollees have full-time jobs year-round, but their salaries are still low enough to qualify for Medicaid coverage, or have Medicaid because their employers do not offer insurance.  
  • Nearly 80 percent of nondisabled people with Medicaid coverage live in a family where at least one person is working, including 64 percent working full-time. The other adult family member may not be working because they have caregiving or other responsibilities at home.
  • A state by state breakdown can be found HERE

Elections Matter: Virginia Medicaid Expansion Already Bringing Affordable Care to 200,000 Virginians

Washington, D.C. – Less than a year after Democrat Ralph Northam was sworn in as Virginia’s Governor, 200,000 people have already gained access to health care as a result of Medicaid expansion which officially took effect yesterday.  Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“Elections matter, and nowhere is this more clear than in Virginia. Virginia Republicans spent years rejecting Medicaid expansion, but Virginia had its highest voter turnout in the past two decades in 2017, electing Democrats up and down the ballot, clearing a path for Medicaid expansion. Over the past two years, five states have voted to expand Medicaid, a clear and direct rebuke to the Trump Administration’s ongoing sabotage agenda on Medicaid and Americans’ health care. Make no mistake, from Virginia and Maine to Idaho, Nebraska and Utah, elections matter and hundreds of thousands of Americans are gaining access to life-saving coverage and rejecting the ongoing Republican war on health care which continues to this very day.”

What does Medicaid expansion mean for Virginians?

AP: More Than 200,000 People Have Already Been Enrolled. “Thousands of uninsured, low-income Virginians will have new health care coverage starting in the new year. Virginia is joining more than 30 states that have expanded Medicaid, a key part of former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul… The state’s Medicaid office has been working with hospitals, advocates for the poor, insurance companies and others to help enroll the newly eligible into Medicaid. Coverage starts Jan. 1 and the state said Friday that more than 200,000 people have been enrolled.” [Bradenton Herald, 12/31/18]

WSLS: “More People In The Commonwealth Have Access To Health Coverage.” “More people in the commonwealth have access to health coverage starting today.  That’s because Virginia joins 32 other states in expanding Medicaid coverage. This will give more adults between the ages of 19 and 64 access to quality low-cost and no-cost health insurance.” [WSLS, 1/1/19]

Delegate Sam Rasoul: “It’s Been A Long Process But Is Fantastic.” “‘It’s been a long process but is fantastic. Over the past couple months, there’s been open enrollment. And 200,000 Virginians have already been signed up into Medicaid and have health care coverage and many others, for the first time ever, starting today. And we still have another couple hundred thousand to go,’ said Delegate Sam Rasoul.” [WSLS, 1/1/19]

Casey Thompson, 21-Year Old Virginian: “It’s Massive.” “Casey Thompson, a 21-year-old who has been uninsured for two years, said she lost all her savings when she had to go to a hospital in May for a ruptured cyst. She said she is thrilled she’ll be covered under Medicaid expansion starting in January and will no longer have to worry about unexpected medical costs. ‘It’s massive,’ she said.” [Bradenton Herald, 12/31/18]

What spurred this change?

AP: Expansion Occurred After 2017 Democratic Wave Election, GOP Repeal Attempts. “Opponents argued that Medicaid expansion was fiscally irresponsible because the long-term costs are unsustainable. Several factors contributed to Republicans switching position on the issue after years of opposition. They include a Democratic wave election in 2017 and the inability of President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.” [Bradenton Herald, 12/31/18]

Was this mindset limited to just Virginia?

Lincoln Journal Star: After Republicans Refused, Nebraskans Voted To Expand Medicaid. “After seven years of legislative refusal to expand Medicaid in Nebraska, voters in November extended coverage to an estimated 90,000 adult Nebraskans who are working at low-wage jobs. That decision will bring a projected $1.3 billion in federal funding flowing into the state during the first three years of the new program.” [Lincoln Journal Star, 12/28/28]

Forbes: After Republicans Refused, Idahoans Voted To Expand Medicaid. “Idaho voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act via ballot initiative, overcoming conservative Republican state legislators who refused for years to pass additional coverage for the state’s poor. With nearly 60% support and two-thirds of the votes counted, voters in Idaho were following the lead of voters in Maine who last November voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in a public referendum at the ballot box. Supporters of Idaho’s Medicaid expansion put it on Tuesday’s midterm general election ballot after their Republican-controlled legislature for years balked at the idea.” [Forbes, 11/7/18]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Medicaid Expansion Makes Sense “Both Fiscally And Socially.” “Experts and the evidence agree, increasing access to MAT is one of the most important policy changes we could implement to combat the opioid epidemic. They also agree that Medicaid expansion is a key move that could be made to improve access; it is the largest source of funding for treatment. Medicaid, which has broad public support, covers the poorest, most marginalized people in our communities who often have some of the most complicated health care needs. In the past, Wisconsin’s Medicaid program had a high-caliber reputation. Like all state Medicaid programs, BadgerCare is jointly financed by the state and federal government, which has a generous matching structure for any state dollars spent. As Wisconsin’s opioid mortality continues to skyrocket above the national average, expanding Medicaid here makes sense both fiscally and socially.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/2/19]

Results are In: Medicaid Wins

Idaho, Nebraska, Utah to Expand Medicaid

Maine, Wisconsin, Kansas Elect Governors Buoyed by Support of Medicaid Expansion

 

Washington, DC – With voters demanding an expansion of Medicaid through referenda in all three states where it was presented, and electing champions of Medicaid Expansion to governor’s seats in others, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:  

“Pro-health care Democrats winning the House of Representatives over health care repealers was a resounding victory for health care, but that Medicaid will now be extended to hundreds of thousands of people who need it is just as important.  Even in conservative Idaho, Utah and Nebraska, voters delivered a sharp rebuke of the Republican war on health care by demanding that Medicaid finally, at long last, be expanded to the hardworking people in their state who need affordable coverage the most.” 

Leslie Dach, founder and chair of Protect Our Care, added: “In state after state Medicaid was on the ballot in 2018 and in state after state Medicaid won. This is a tremendous victory for Americans who will now have the added security of Medicaid expansion. Only one conclusion can be drawn from last night’s results, and that’s that the Republican war on health care has been soundly rejected.”  

IDAHO, NEBRASKA AND UTAH VOTERS EXPAND MEDICAID

By huge margins, Idaho, Utah and Nebraska voters elected to expand Medicaid through ballot initiatives.

  • Idaho voters approved Medicaid expansion with more than 61% of the vote.
  • Nebraska passed it with 53%.
  • Utah approved it with 54%.

MEDICAID EXPANSION PROPELLED DEMOCRATS TO VICTORY IN SEVERAL GOVERNOR’S RACES

In Maine, Democrat Janet Mills Positioned Herself Opposite Her Predecessor By Running On Medicaid Expansion, Saying “Medicaid Expansion Is Good For Business And Good For The People Of Maine.” “Mills accused LePage of ‘obstructing the will of the people…My opponent, Shawn Moody, has said that he will work to repeal the law. I agree with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce that Medicaid expansion is good for business and good for the people of Maine,’ Mills said. ‘It will improve the health of Mainers. It will inject millions of dollars into our economy. It will create jobs, lower health care costs for Maine people and keep our rural hospitals open.’” [Portland Press Herald, 10/30/18]

In Wisconsin, Democratic Challenger Tony Evers Targeted Scott Walker For Not Taking Federal Medicaid Expansion. “Evers made health care the focus of his only television ad to date, faulting Walker for not taking the federal Medicaid expansion and pointing out that the cost of an average health insurance plan sold on the private market this year in Wisconsin was more expensive than in Minnesota. Walker argues the ad is misleading and health insurance costs will decrease in Wisconsin once a recently approved reinsurance program takes effect.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/7/18]

In Kansas, Democrat Lauren Kelly Pledged To Expand Medicaid. “Medicaid expansion could also come to one other traditionally conservative state, Kansas. The state legislature approved legislation to expand the program last year, only to have Republican Gov. Kris Kobach veto it. On Tuesday, Kobach lost his re-election bid to Democrat Laura Kelly. She has pledged to approve an expansion bill within her first year of office.” [HuffPost, 11/7/18]

In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer Ran As a Champion of Medicaid Expansion. “As attorney general, [her opponent AG Bill] Schuette joined at least nine lawsuits fighting the Affordable Care Act. In a 2017 fundraising mailer, he said he opposed the law, ‘including the ‘free’ federal Medicaid dollars from Obama that leave Michigan taxpayers on the hook for more!’ ‘He has been the chief advocate against Healthy Michigan in our state ever since we started the bipartisan negotiations on it,” Whitmer told The Detroit News. ‘The biggest threat to health care in Michigan is Bill Schuette.’” [Detroit News, 9/18/19]

Elections Have Consequences

400,000 Virginians Now Eligible to Enroll in Medicaid

Washington DC – Today, hundreds of thousands of Virginians between the ages of 19 and 64 who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level are now able to enroll in Medicaid, with the commonwealth having succeeded in enacting Medicaid Expansion earlier this year after the 2017 election during which health care was the number one issue to voters according to exit polls.  Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following in response to today’s news:

“Today, hundreds of thousands of Virginians will gain access to quality health coverage, something only made possible because voters motivated by health care turned out in droves to elect pro-health care leaders in 2017. With only five days until the midterm elections, Americans across the country are gearing up to make their outrage about the Republican war on health care known because Republicans who still stubbornly oppose Medicaid expansion — be they Scott Walker, Ron DeSantis, Mitt Romney or Donald Trump — are on the wrong side health care, the wrong side of voters, and the wrong side of history.”  

MEDICAID EXPANSION IS A DEFINING ISSUE IN GOVERNOR’S RACES ACROSS THE COUNTRY

In Georgia, Democratic Candidate Stacy Abrams Has Said The First Thing She Would Do Is Expand Medicaid. “Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams has said the first thing she would do as governor is expand Medicaid. That’s the decision each state can make to give more low-income people access to health care. States receive federal funding for it, though they, too, have to pay into the program. ‘And you’ll hear me talk about this ad nauseam because it’s the only answer to Georgia’s challenges,’ Abrams said at a health care policy press conference Monday. ‘We have an uncompensated care rate of $1.7 billion.’…Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has refused to expand the program in Georgia, and Republican candidate Brian Kemp said he wouldn’t expand it either. ‘Government programs that aren’t working now are not a reason to give them more money,’ Kemp said at an event last week. Kemp said, instead, he favors opening up the private sector market to more competition to lower health care costs.” [WABE, 9/12/18]

In Florida, Andrew Gillum is running on Medicaid Expansion, with polling showing Floridians want to expand Medicaid. “According to new data from the left-leaning think tank Data for Progress, an estimated 65 percent of Florida voters support expanding Medicaid across the state — and, amazingly, voters in every legislative or congressional district from the Keys all the way up to the Panhandle support the idea.” [Miami New Times, 5/25/18]

In Ohio, Cordray Blasts DeWine, Who Flip-Flopped on Medicaid Expansion because it is so Popular. “Cordray also dinged DeWine on Ohio’s Medicaid expansion, which provides health coverage to nearly 700,000 Ohioans. Republican Gov. John Kasich has ‘done some things that are very good for Ohio,’ Cordray said. ‘He had real courage on the Medicaid expansion, bringing that to Ohio and fighting the naysayers in his own party who said, ‘Gee, that’s part of Obamacare.’ And my opponent was part of those naysayers.’ DeWine now says he’ll keep the expansion. But Eck didn’t answer a question asking why, if he favored it, DeWine repeatedly sued to kill the law that made it possible.” [Columbus Dispatch, 9/20/18]

In Wisconsin, Democratic Challenger Tony Evers Targets Scott Walker For Not Taking Federal Medicaid Expansion. “Evers made health care the focus of his only television ad to date, faulting Walker for not taking the federal Medicaid expansion and pointing out that the cost of an average health insurance plan sold on the private market this year in Wisconsin was more expensive than in Minnesota. Walker argues the ad is misleading and health insurance costs will decrease in Wisconsin once a recently approved reinsurance program takes effect.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/7/18]

In Michigan, Candidates Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Bill Schuette (R) Spar Over Medicaid Expansion. “As attorney general, Schuette joined at least nine lawsuits fighting the Affordable Care Act. In a 2017 fundraising mailer, he said he opposed the law, ‘including the ‘free’ federal Medicaid dollars from Obama that leave Michigan taxpayers on the hook for more!’ ‘He has been the chief advocate against Healthy Michigan in our state ever since we started the bipartisan negotiations on it,” Whitmer told The Detroit News. ‘The biggest threat to health care in Michigan is Bill Schuette.’ But the Medicaid expansion program is threatened by declining federal aid, Schuette notes. The federal government fully funded the Medicaid expansion program the first three years, but the state began paying a share in 2017 and will be required to cover 10 percent of the costs by 2020. By then, it’s estimated to cost the state roughly $380 million a year.” [Detroit News, 9/18/19]

In Tennessee, Karl Dean is Running on Medicaid Expansion, with Polls Showing Voters Support it Strongly. “The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research in April, showed 63 percent support Medicaid expansion with the use of federal funds to 21 percent against and 16 percent undecided.” [Nashville Tennessean, 5/7/18]

In Idaho, Democratic Candidate Paulette Jordan is a Supporter of Prop 2 (Medicaid Expansion). Her opponent, Lt. Gov. Brad Little has declined to say whether he will vote for the initiative but said if elected governor, he would respect the will of the voters if they pass Medicaid expansion. [KTVB, 10/29/18]

In Alabama, Democratic Challenger Walt Maddox Is Running On Medicaid Expansion. “The Democratic nominee began the tour in Tuscaloosa where he is mayor. Describing himself as the only candidate in the race talking about the state’s “big problems”, Maddox is running on a platform of establishing a state lottery to fund education programs and expanding Medicaid. Standing with his wife, Stephanie and his two children, Maddox said the race is about ensuring the state’s children have opportunities.” [Associated Press, 9/17/18