Why (Even Red) States Are Expanding Medicaid And What That Means For Health Systems

Healthcare Dive

By: Shannon Muchmore

Many states have expanded Medicaid, because data has shown that expanding Medicaid coverage will decrease federal matching funds in the next year. Thus, that money, as Adam Searing from CCF mentioned, is motivating many to see how important and effective Medicaid programs are, and their benefits in the long-run.

“That money is a huge attraction and the politics have changed significantly as more people are aware what an effective and important a program Medicaid is,” Adam Searing, research professor at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF), told Healthcare Dive.

“I think what states saw and what everybody saw was that expansion had strong bipartisan support,” Searing said. “That played a huge role in the demise of AHCA.”

Searing said that simply isn’t the case.

“Honestly, the deal is so good even with the states having to put in a little more money, it’s not going to be a financial struggle,” he said.

Searing said, however, that the waiver statute is clear in stating that provisions can only be waived with the intent of providing better and more efficient care.

“This isn’t so a conservative state can make it harder for people to get Medicaid,” he said.

Searing said that expansion is a good move for states, even if they put restrictions on coverage that he and other policy analysts don’t approve of. With the AHCA seemingly dead in its tracks, there “will be a lot of incentive to compromise on all sides,” he said.

“I do think that we have had a big change in the last couple of months in how the public talks about and thinks about health coverage,” he said. “People got a lot of information through the debate.”

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