This week, Ohio announced it will accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. What does expansion mean for America?
Health care professionals, advocates for veterans, and anti-poverty activists cheered the news out of Columbus, Ohio.
Thanks to a vote by a bipartisan Controlling Board, Ohio will now extend Medicaid to 275,000 residents who previously weren’t eligible. This includes adults (aged 19-65) who make up to 138% of the poverty level (around $16,000). And Ohio isn’t alone. Check out the following map that breaks down where states stand.
Medicaid expansion is a provision of the Affordable Care Act and is intended to help those who aren’t eligible for subsidies under the Act. States will receive federal funds to cover 100% of the cost to implement initial expansion and 90% after 2020. Due to the highly politicized nature of the Affordable Care Act, many Republican governors face pressure to turn down federal aid. However, some conservative politicians, such as Ohio’s John Kasich and Arizona’s Jan Brewer, have been accepting expansion.
“Together with the General Assembly we’ve improved both the quality of care from Medicaid and its value for taxpayers,” Kasich said regarding the Controlling Board’s vote. “Today’s action takes another positive step in this mutual effort.”
Physician Erik Steele summed up the importance of providing health care to all citizens. “To be poor and without health insurance in Ohio is to walk largely out of sight while waiting to feel the many impacts of unaffordable and inadequate health care, ill health and societal indifference. It is where hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors walk,” he wrote.
Access to reliable health care is one of the most important ways to support low-income Americans, and Medicaid expansion could help millions of citizens find the care they deserve.