When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, it altered one major provision in the law. Instead of a virtual mandate, the court gave state governments flexibility in deciding whether to expand Medicaid coverage to uninsured citizens with annual incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The encouraging indication is that Gov. John Kasich plans to have a decision for Ohio sometime during the coming year. A commitment to expand Medicaid should not be difficult to make. The federal contribution to an expanded Medicaid program begins Jan. 1, 2014, and it is not insignificant. For the first three years, Washington will pay 100 percent of the cost for the newly eligible. The federal share will be scaled down over the next three years and thereafter to 90 percent. In effect, states that expand from the beginning gain the full benefit of the generous federal match. That is an incentive in itself to get in at the start.The Beacon Journal goes on to lay out the case based on the overwhelming benefits to Ohio families and our economy. Read it and pass it on to your friends and family. To add to the argument for expansion, let’s also take a look back at what we said on July 30. In short, Medicaid expansion has been shown to save lives:
Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, today cited a new study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine which suggested that expanding Medicaid eligibility as called for in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could prevent 3,400 Ohio deaths per year. The think tank also called on Gov. Kasich to support Medicaid expansion, saying that “being pro-life should include more than just being anti-abortion.” According to the study, published July 25th, Harvard University School of Public Health researchers found that for every 176 adults covered under expanded Medicaid, one death per year would be prevented. The study compared three states (Arizona, New York and Maine) that have already expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income citizens with four neighboring states that had not. Deaths in the three expansion states dropped by 6% per year, while deaths in non-expansion states went up. Read the report here. According to the Kasich administration’s Office of Health Transformation, 597,500 adults would qualify for Medicaid in 2014 if the program is expanded according to ACA guidelines. Using the study’s formula of one death prevented for every 176 adults covered, expanded Medicaid coverage in Ohio would yield 3,395 fewer deaths per year than would occur without it.
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