Senior Policy Analyst
The budget reconciliation bill that Senate Republican leaders will reportedly propose tomorrow would repeal health reform’s Medicaid expansion in 2018. That would reverse the gains of the 30 expansion states (plus the District of Columbia) in providing health coverage to millions of their low-income residents; adversely affect state budgets and hospitals; and prevent the remaining states from adopting the Medicaid expansion in the future.
Evidence from the states that have expanded Medicaid to non-elderly adults with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty line demonstrates the Medicaid expansion’s substantial benefits, all of which would be lost under the Senate Republican leaders’ bill:
The combination of these factors has produced net budget savings in many expansion states. For example, through June 2015, expansion had saved Kentucky nearly $110 million and Arkansas nearly $120 million. In these and other states, expansion is expected to generate net savings even when they begin paying a modest amount of the cost in 2017.
Repealing the expansion would return states to the time when low-income people didn’t have options for affordable health coverage, and states and hospitals had to foot the bill for treating uninsured people’s medical conditions.