Vice President for Health Policy
Tomorrow’s expected Medicaid guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will reportedly encourage states to seek federal waivers capping their federal funding for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion and weakening federal protections for the low-income adults it covers.
Here are four points to keep in mind in evaluating the guidance, along with links to relevant CBPP reports.
The Medicaid expansion has improved access to care, strengthened financial security, and saved lives. In making its case for the guidance, CMS officials will likely argue — as they have in the past — that the Medicaid expansion doesn’t improve beneficiaries’ health. Such claims are indefensible in light of recent research finding that the expansion saves lives. If all states across the country adopted it, it would save as many lives each year as seatbelts do (see graphic).
A second, even more recent study — this one a randomized trial, the gold standard for scientific research — also finds Medicaid coverage for adults saves lives. Other strong evidence shows that the expansion improves financial security and access to care, such as by reducing medical debt and preventing evictions.