Senior Policy Analyst
Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah voters approved ballot initiatives yesterday to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion that, when implemented, will provide Medicaid coverage to an estimated 363,000 more people.
The 31 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have implemented the expansion have benefited greatly, as we’ve detailed: uninsurance rates have dropped more in expansion states overall than in non-expansion states, the expansion has produced budget savings that offset much of the costs from expanding Medicaid coverage, those who gained Medicaid coverage report improved physical and financial health, and the expansion has proved a crucial work support both for those who are working as well as those looking for work.
For their states to enjoy these benefits, policymakers in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah should quickly implement their expansions. To do that, they should:
If all remaining non-expansion states (including Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah) adopted the expansion in 2019, more than 4.5 million uninsured people would gain coverage and uninsurance rates in these states would fall by a quarter, according to Urban Institute projections.
Last night’s election results indicate that some additional states may pursue Medicaid expansion in 2019. Maine elected a governor who supports the expansion, which means that the expansion initiative that voters passed last year (and which outgoing Governor Paul LePage refused to implement) will likely take effect in 2019. And voters in Kansas and Wisconsin elected governors who made their support for Medicaid expansion central to their campaigns.