White House Report Demonstrates Why States Should Close the Coverage Gap
Nationwide, the rate of uninsured Americans is dropping at a record pace. The reason is clear - new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act has made health coverage affordable and accessible to millions of adults and children.
Additionally, the rates of uninsured adults is dropping most significantly in those states that have chosen to expand access to their state's Medicaid program to include low-income, childless adults. These data come from a recently released report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
States were given the option to accept federal funding set-aside for Medicaid expansion when the Supreme Court reviewed the Affordable Care Act in June 2012.
So far, 26 states and the District of Columbia have made the decision to expand access to health insurance through Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And since October 1st, 2013 when the first open enrollment period began, 5.2 million people in these states have gained Medicaid or CHIP coverage compared to 5.7 million people prevented from gaining coverage by state lawmakers in the other 24 states.
There are a number of very important health benefits to expanding Medicaid. For example, if the states that haven't expanded Medicaid yet did so:
- An additional 1.4 million people would have a usual source of clinic care.
- An additional 345,000 women could receive an annual pap smear.
- An additional 214,000 women between the ages of 50 ad 64 could receive mammograms.
The report also showed how expanding Medicaid has important financial benefits for individuals and great economic benefits for states. If states that haven't expanded Medicaid yet did so:
- Annually, 255,000 fewer people would risk catastrophic medical debt from out-of-pocket medical costs.
- An additional $66 billion in total economic activity would be created through 2017.
- States (that are already in need of jobs) would add a total of 379,000 jobs through 2017.
The evidence is clear: states and their residents cannot afford not to expand Medicaid for poor and vulnerable people in their states.
If you live in Texas, Florida, Mississippi, or North Carolina, you can sign one of our petitions asking state legislators to accept the Medicaid expansion in your state!