The pressure to fully implement the Affordable Care Act continued to build in state capitals this week as new reports showed the extent of the financial pain that both business and hospitals will feel if their states refuse to participate in the expansion of Medicaid (since the pain felt by the millions of people who would find themselves uninsured in those states was clearly not enough to win conservative support). In some states where previously opposed governors have already agreed to support expansion, conservative legislators are putting up a fight.
The initial news last week was that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And though that remains true, discussion has increasingly focused on the one limitation the Court put on the law. While the ACA required all states to expand Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) – about $30,000 for a family of four – in order to receive any federal Medicaid funds, the Court ruled that only funds for the expansion itself could be withheld. The practical effect of the limitation was to make it optional for states to expand Medicaid to all Americans at or below 133% FPL.
State governments are facing mounting budgetary pressures to cut Medicaid costs. Reducing eligibility or cutting covered services is the obvious, but short-sighted, cost-cutting strategy. Such cuts will leave already ill people more ill, shift treatment costs to other payers (including small businesses, individual insurance policyholders, and medical providers), and forego significant federal funding that frequently exceeds any state budget savings.
Hundreds of state legislators from every state in the nation continue to send a clear message to the Supreme Court: state Attorneys General seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act through the courts are not the only ones who speak for the states.
In this week’s Research Roundup: Recent reports from NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Political Economy Research Institute, Center for Economic and Policy Research, US Action Education Fund, Center for Rural Strategies, Pew Center on the States, Good Jobs First, Commonwealth Fund, Economic Opportunity Institute, and more.
Co-hosted by the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform, we were joined on this webinar by Dr. Bob Crittenden of the Herndon Alliance, a leading national expert on messaging health reform and the Affordable Care Act. He highlighted key messages to use when discussing complex and controversial issues like implementing state exchanges or protecting from cuts to Medicaid and strategies for effectively engaging target audiences and speaking to your colleagues about legislation.
In this week’s research roundup: New resources from Economic Policy Institute on eleven effective job creation proposals, Keystone Research Center andPolicy Matters Ohio on the declining economic situation for workers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Gallup-Healthways tracking the well-being of residents of all 50 states, Pew Charitable Trusts on factors influencing the downward mobility of the middle class, Young Invincibles on how students returning to college this fall can get covered b