President Obama Announces Intent to Provide Full Medicaid Expansion Funding for States Yet to Expand Eligibility

President Obama plans to seek congressional approval to extend enhanced funding for non-expansion states that decide to expand Medicaid, according to a blog posted by the White House. A proposal in the President's 2017 budget will provide any state that takes up the Medicaid expansion option with the same three years of full federal funding and gradual phase down of that funding experienced by states that expanded in 2014. Under current law, funding for Medicaid expansion will be reduced to 95% in 2017 and will phase down to 90% by 2020 for all states, regardless of when they expanded.

Uninsured Hospital Stays Drop Sharply in Expansion States

A new report published in Health Affairs found that in the first two quarters of 2014, uninsured hospital stays decreased dramatically and Medicaid stays increased sharply in states that expanded Medicaid. States that did not expand Medicaid saw very little change in payer mix during the same time period. The authors note that their findings underscore the benefits of expansion for hospitals that serve low-income populations.

Medicaid Expansion Improves Access to Care for Low-Income Individuals Across Models, New Report Finds

According to The Commonwealth Fund's recent report, low-income individuals residing in Arkansas and Kentucky, which have both expanded Medicaid, were more likely to be insured and less likely to have problems paying medical bills or being able to afford prescriptions than low-income individuals living in Texas, a state that has not expanded Medicaid. Between 2013 and 2014, Kentucky and Arkansas saw large drops in the uninsured rate and large increases in the rate of adults with chronic conditions receiving regular care. The authors note that findings across Kentucky's traditional expansion model, Arkansas's private option expansion model, and Texas's non-expansion suggest promising results for Medicaid expansion in improving access for low-income adults and that "deciding whether or not to expand matters much more than deciding how to expand."

Three Million in the Coverage Gap Would Gain Coverage Under Expansion

An issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that nearly three million adults in non-expansion states fall into the coverage gap, meaning they earn too little to qualify for Medicaid but too much for federal premium subsidies on HealthCare.gov. The report notes that the median income limit for parents in non-expansion states is 44% of the federal poverty level while in almost all non-expansion states childless adults remain ineligible. The brief also explores the demographics of individuals in the coverage gap, including geography, race/ethnicity, age and health status.