As part of Obamacare, all states have the option to expand Medicaid with the federal government financing almost all of the costs of covering newly eligible individuals. If the states accept those federal funds, they will not have to pay anything for the first three years, and even after that, they will pay only a fraction of the costs to cover hardworking families.
If all states accept this money, an additional 7 million women will be able to get critical women’s health care, such as: birth control, checkups, well-woman exams, and prenatal care at no cost. Unfortunately, despite these immense benefits to women and families in their states, some anti-women’s health politicians are turning down the expansion and denying their residents health care. In fact, according to a recent article in Think Progress, states that refuse to expand Medicaid may “widen the gulf between urban and rural America.”
Right now, more than half of the urban residents who could become eligible for Medicaid coverage under Obamacare are living in states that are expanding. Meanwhile, more than half of the rural residents who could gain coverage are living in states that have refused federal funds to expand Medicaid. By rejecting federal funds, these states are exacerbating the health disparities that already exist in this country by denying individuals better access to comprehensive health care. In essence, these politicians are making it even clearer that your health care depends on your zip code.
But in spite of all this, there is good news. Slowly, some states are coming around to the idea that accepting federal funds will mean that a state can cover more hardworking people and their families — ultimately saving taxpayer dollars that are currently spent to treat uninsured individuals. The Republican-led Michigan House approved a bill to expand the Medicaid program as part of the health care law. They will send the bill to Governor Rick Snyder, who has already come out in favor of the expansion citing the taxpayer savings and improvement in quality of life for those residents who are not already covered.
It’s great news for the additional 400,000 people who could be covered (according to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis), as a result of this decision. Way to go, Michigan!