Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Report: Expanding Medicaid Nationwide Would Save More Than 14,000 Lives Per Year
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress report quantifies the impact of not expanding Medicaid in the 19 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The report looks at 12 ways that elected officials’ failure to expand Medicaid is harming their states’ residents, depriving them of health-related benefits such as additional lives saved, reductions in infant deaths, and additional early cancer diagnoses as well as nonhealth benefits such as fewer bankruptcies, lower medical debts, and enhanced public safety.

“Our report shows that the harms of not expanding Medicaid are profound and far-reaching,” says Rachel West, director of research for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. “Every year more than 14,000 additional Americans die simply because they live in a state that has chosen not to expand Medicaid. And millions of Americans face avoidable financial harm solely because they live in nonexpansion states.”

Medicaid has become a major issue in many states’ midterm elections. Voters in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah will decide whether to expand Medicaid on their November ballots. Medicaid expansion is also playing a prominent role in the governors’ races of Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

The report estimates that if remaining states were to fully expand Medicaid, the benefits would include:

  • Additional lives saved per year: 14,361
  • Additional infant lives saved per year: 141
  • Additional increase in cancer diagnoses per year: 5,942
  • Additional early-stage cancer diagnoses per year: 5,034
  • Reduction in uninsured opioid-related hospitalizations per year: 17,577
  • Additional bankruptcies prevented per year: 1,517
  • Reduction in families’ accrued medical debt: $6.8 billion
  • Money kept in families’ pockets from less costly credit per year: $2.1 billion
  • Savings to communities from enhanced public safety per year: $7.7 billion

These and other effects are broken down by state for each nonexpansion state. See state-by-state estimates here.

For more information or to speak to an expert contact, Julia Cusick at jcusick@americanprogress.org or 202-495-3682