- If all 19 states that are still holding out from Medicaid expansion were to go for it in 2017, they could reduce the the U.S. uninsured rate by another 5 million people, according to an Urban Institute study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- The study projects which states would see the biggest drops in uninsured individuals and what groups would gain the most coverage.
- Texas, Florida, and Georgia would see the biggest impacts, the report found, with their respective uninsured drops projected at 1.3 million, 876,000 and 529,000.
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which allows states to expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, has remained a politically charged move. Just 26 states and the District of Columbia had implemented it by 2014, and another five have pushed it through since, with the most recent having been Montana in late 2015 and Louisiana this year.
Previous debate on the subject has suggested expansion may ultimately be inevitable for economic reasons, that holdout states--often tied up by GOP legislatures--may reconsider once a new president takes office, and that Louisiana's recent expansion could set a precedent for the South.
The Urban Institute study concluded expansion by the remaining states would most highly impact demographic groups including adults without children (3.6 million); white non-Hispanics (2.4 million); people with only a high school education (2.2 million); full-time workers (1.3 million); Hispanics (1.2 million); and black non-Hispanics (1.2. million).
“Our single greatest opportunity to cover more people would be to expand Medicaid in all 50 states,” Kathy Hempstead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a prepared statement. “In the 19 states that have yet to expand, millions still go without insurance.”