Noteworthy News

To Expand or Not to Expand: The Medicaid Question States are Asking

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that states are not required to expand their Medicaid programs as called for in the Affordable Care Act, governors and state legislatures across the country are trying to figure out if they will move ahead with the Medicaid expansion when that planned expansion begins in 2014.

So far, nine governors have said they will not expand their Medicaid programs and another six have said they are seriously considering doing the same.  About a dozen more governors have said they expect their state to go ahead and extend Medicaid benefits to more people under the new eligibility criteria included in the 2009 reform law.  The others are still evaluating their options.

Among the issues the states are considering as they weigh this decision are how much it will cost them – even in light of the unusually high level of matching funds the federal government will provide; whether they must opt in for 2014 or can choose to participate later if they change their mind; and whether they can implement eligibility criteria more generous than their current standards but less generous than those in the Affordable Care Act.

The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) is closely monitoring states’ decisions, as are the leaders of urban safety-net hospitals who are looking to their states to provide Medicaid coverage for many of their currently uninsured patients.

Read more about the Medicaid expansion concerns facing the nation’s governors in this Stateline reportHealth Care Reform/Flag.

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