Friday, April 18, 2014

Obama on the more than 5 million people left uninsured because states refused to expand Medicaid: "that's wrong"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 3:34 PM

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At yesterday's press conference announcing that enrollment in the Obamacare marketplaces had hit 8 million, President Barack Obama declared victory. "This thing is working," he said, adding that "the repeal debate is and should be over."

But he also struck an angry tone on one facet of the law that is not working as intended, because of the Supreme Court's decision in 2012 and the decisions of 24 states: 5.7 million people will be uninsured in 2016, according to the White House, in states that refuse to expand Medicaid. 

"You got 5 million people who could be having health insurance right now, at no cost to these states," Obama said. "That’s wrong.” He said that the states “have chosen not to expand Medicaid for no other reason than political spite.”

Arkansas, of course, is pursuing Medicaid expansion via the private option. I'm a broken record on this but gratitude never gets old: we ought to give thanks that lawmakers in Arkansas found a way forward to do right by our neediest citizens. So far, 150,000 (and counting) Arkansans have gained coverage. 

We've looked a few times before at what the holdout states will do. One thing to keep in mind—it took states several years to adopt the original Medicaid program too:

click to enlarge old_medicaid_map.png

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