Washington, D.C. — Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, governors and state legislators in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Kansas have been acutely aware of the urgent need to expand Medicaid coverage or risk leaving their citizens in the coverage gap, losing state jobs, and hurting their states’ economies. The federal government has notified these states that it will no longer support their irresponsible inaction with low-income pool, or LIP, funding when these states could simply cover struggling, uninsured families through Medicaid expansion. Health care is a matter of life or death, but leaders in these four states are treating access to affordable care like a matter of political gamesmanship. More than 1.8 million Americans would gain coverage if all four states expanded Medicaid, which would improve their health status, reduce mortality rates, and grow the states’ economies.
“Medicaid expansion has enabled roughly 4.6 million newly eligible Americans to get affordable care in the 30 states that have chosen to do so,” said Tiffany Hogue, policy director at the Texas Organizing Project. “Yet again, our state leaders are putting their political ambitions ahead of the health of Texans. The debate over LIP funding is merely a distraction from the real issue at hand—Texas’ refusal to expand Medicaid and ensure access to affordable health care.”
Medicaid expansion is and has always been a matter of common sense. By refusing to expand Medicaid, Texas is preventing 948,000 people from gaining coverage, costing the state $8.6 billion in economic activity and 70,500 new jobs and denying local hospitals $34.3 billion in reimbursements. Texas’ continued refusal to expand Medicaid and its grandiose objections to the much anticipated expiration of LIP funding is nothing more than political posturing at the expense of thousands of Texans.
The Affordable Care Act is working—more than 20 million people now get health care because of the law. It is time that conservative elected state officials stop playing games and let people get health coverage.
Click here to read “Myth Busting: Medicaid and Low-Income Pool Facts.”
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