Friday, December 6, 2013

States Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Losing Out on Billions

A new Commonwealth Fund study that just came out speaks to the harm Republican-led states are doing to their citizens by rejecting the Medicaid expansion. That's a key perspective: It's not the states that are losing money, it's the states' own taxpayers whose federal income taxes go toward Medicaid -- in the states that have accepted the aid -- and yet get nothing in their home states. And the deprivation will grow over time. Reports Think Progress:
But since Medicaid is financed through general tax revenue, all Americans — irrespective of whether or not they live in a state participating in the expansion — will pay into the system. Consequently, Texas residents will see over $9 billion flow out of their state in 2022 to help fund the expansion in states that accept it; Georgia taxpayers will lose out on nearly $3 billion; and Florida’s rejection of the expansion will cost residents over $5 billion...
“Federal funding provides direct benefits and bolsters local economies. The opportunity to participate in the Medicaid expansion has potentially important benefits to states,” concluded the study authors. “Even states that do not value the health and health system benefits of expanding Medicaid may value the expansion as a source of funds that benefits the state economy.”
If all states expanded Medicaid, over 21 million of the poorest Americans would have access to basic health benefits by 2022.
This happens on many levels. Not only do citizens of these red states pay for -- but not benefit from -- Medicaid money, they also lose out on the economy activity generated by these billions of healthcare spending and the jobs that are created to serve it.

A hope I've always had is that, when the ramifications of these Republican choices in the red states get understood, the people will pressure these Republicans to relent and let them have access to healthcare and the revenue generated, rather than letting these politicians deprive their citizens for dubious ideological stances. Let's hope so.

To get a feeling for the broad discussion in the various states and across the nation this Commonwealth Fund study has generated, type "states rejecting medicaid" into a Google search. (Or just click this link.) The resulting links tell quite a story.

C'mon Mississippi. It's time to join the 21st century. Your citizens deserve it.

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