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Fighting Medicaid Expansion

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

States push back on the implementation of the Obama health care law – rejecting the expansion of Medicaid.

In this July 12, 2012 photo, two women wait in an exam room at Nuestra Clinica Del Valle, in San Juan, Texas. About 85 percent of those served at the clinic are uninsured. Texas already has one of the nation’s most restrictive Medicaid programs, offering coverage only to the disabled, children and parents who earn less than $2,256 a year for a family of three. Without a Medicaid expansion, the state’s working poor will continue relying on emergency rooms _ the most costly treatment option _ instead of primary care doctors. The Texas Hospital Association estimates that care for uninsured patients cost hospitals in the state $4.5 billion in 2010. (AP)

In this July 12, 2012 photo, two women wait in an exam room at Nuestra Clinica Del Valle, in San Juan, Texas. About 85 percent of those served at the clinic are uninsured. Texas already has one of the nation’s most restrictive Medicaid programs, offering coverage only to the disabled, children and parents who earn less than $2,256 a year for a family of three. Without a Medicaid expansion, the state’s working poor will continue relying on emergency rooms _ the most costly treatment option _ instead of primary care doctors. The Texas Hospital Association estimates that care for uninsured patients cost hospitals in the state $4.5 billion in 2010. (AP)

The U.S. Supreme Court has given the green light to President Obama’s health care plan with one caveat: you can’t coerce the states into expanding Medicaid coverage for the poor.

And even though the federal government is picking up the tab for the first 3 years, some Republican governors are saying no. That would mean millions of poor Americans won’t get insurance.

This hour, On Point: the politics of expanding, or not expanding Medicaid insurance for the poor.

-Wade Goodwyn

Guests

Noam Levey, national healthcare reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

John Otto, he represents the 18th District in the Texas House of Representatives. You can find his recent op-ed on expanding Medicaid here.

Judith Solomon, vice president for Health Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, he specializes in health care policy.

From The Reading List

Forbes “Obamacare takes these incentives to their logical conclusion. Under Obamacare, starting in 2014, everyone with income below 133 percent of FPL will be eligible for Medicaid. For the first three years of the expansion, federal taxpayers will pick up the full cost of the expansion.”

Austin Chronicle “If Perry actually thought he would be preventing the federal law from taking effect, he was dead wrong. On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 2010 PPACA, and the individual mandate that conservatives detest survived. However, Perry found comfort in one part of the ruling: The law initially required that states expand Medicaid coverage to more people, under threat of having their existing Medicaid funding withheld.”

New York Review of Books “Furthermore, these states already have among the highest numbers of citizens with no health insurance. Twenty-five percent of non-elderly Texans have no health insurance, for example, compared to the national average of about 18 percent.   If the Obama Medicaid reforms were fully implemented, 15 to 17 million of the nation’s 50 million without health insurance would be covered.  In a report just issued in late July, however, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Medicaid expansion will only cover some ten million more, or a full third fewer than anticipated, because of the rejection of the plan by large states like Florida and Texas and others who have not yet formally announced their intentions.”

Los Angeles Times “Nearly half a century after President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicaid into law, conservative critics of the massive government health insurance program for the poor are readying a new push to dramatically scale it back if Republicans control the White House and Congress next year.”

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