Archive for 2013

What’s unaffordable?

by | February 26th, 2013 | Posted in Blog, Education, Healthcare | Comments (2)

In her 2013 State of the State address, Governor Mary Fallin reiterated her opposition to accepting federal dollars to provide coverage to uninsured Oklahomans through Medicaid, as provided under the Affordable Care Act. In states that extend Medicaid, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost for the newly-eligible population for three years (2014-16) and 90 percent from 2020 onwards. Yet the Governor claims that extending Medicaid would impose large and unaffordable costs on the state:

According to a report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the proposed expansion of Medicaid would result in a $689 million increase in state Medicaid costs between 2013 and 2022. Expanding Medicaid as proposed by the president would mean that a huge sum of money would be diverted from other priorities, like education and public safety, as well as existing health care programs.

The Governor’s assertion that extending Medicaid is unaffordable to Oklahoma is unconvincing in at least two respects. First, the study on which she bases her cost estimates makes clear that extending Medicaid would have a very modest fiscal cost to the state and would bring in over twelve new federal dollars for every additional dollar of state spending. Secondly, the state cost of extending Medicaid would be less than half the cost of the Governor’s proposed 0.25 percentage point cut to the top income tax rate over the same period.

In November, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured released the report which estimated that Oklahoma would spend $689 million more from 2013-2022 by extending Medicaid under the ACA (1). This estimate is significantly higher than the one developed by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), which had previously formed the basis of discussions of the cost of Medicaid expansion. In part, this is because the Kaiser Commission’s projections run through 2022, adding two years when the state share would be 10 percent. In addition, unlike OHCA, the Kaiser Commission assumes that extending Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level for working age adults will lead some people who  currently have employer-sponsored coverage or individual coverage to drop that coverage and enroll in Medicaid instead. The Kaiser Commission projects 204,000 more Oklahomans will enroll in Medicaid, of whom 126,000 are currently uninsured.

A careful look at the full Kaiser Commission report shows, however, that the actual cost to Oklahoma of extending Medicaid are modest and would yield tremendous benefits:

  • Kaiser_federal&stateFrom 2013-2022, the federal government would spend an additional $8.561 billion on the newly-eligible Medicaid population, or more than $12 for every dollar in state spending. The federal government would assume 92.5 percent of the total cost from 2013-2022.
  • The $689 million state cost of Medicaid expansion would be offset by $205 million in savings in reduced uncompensated care costs, reducing the net cost to $485 million (Table ES-4). This does not take into account savings from shifting services currently paid for with state-only dollars to Medicaid; Oklahoma currently spends an estimated $48 million annually on health services for low-income adults who could become Medicaid-eligible. Nor does it include revenue gains from the boost to state economic activity resulting from increased federal dollars.
  • The state costs would be especially modest in the early years. The state cost is projected to be just $11 million in 2016, which is less than the $23 million the state would save that year in uncompensated care costs (Table 15).
  • Extending Medicaid eligibility would increase state spending on Medicaid by just 2.7 percent from 2014 – 2022 (Table 6).
  • Medicaid payments to Oklahoma hospitals alone would increase by $3.6 billion from 2013-2022, an 18.5 percent increase  (Table 13).
  • Medicaid expansion would reduce the number of uninsured Oklahomans by 126,000 (Table 12). Currently nearly one in two working age Oklahomans with income below 133 percent of the federal poverty level are without insurance.

cost-tax-cut-MedicaidAccepting the Kaiser Commission’s cost estimates, Oklahoma can expect to spend an additional $485  million between now and 2022, net of reduced uncompensated care costs. The Governor contends that this spending would detract significantly from Oklahoma’s ability to make necessary investments in education, public safety, and other health care programs. Yet the Governor proposes cutting Oklahoma’s top income tax rate from 5.25 to 5.0 percent. This tax cut would cost about $125 million in 2014 and $1.48 billion from 2013-2022 (see Table), which is double or triple the state cost of extending Medicaid over the same period. More than two in five Oklahoma households would get no benefit at all from the tax cut, and the median benefit would be just $39 per household in 2014, as we discussed in this blog post. By contrast, extending Medicaid would provide health coverage for 125,000 uninsured Oklahomans. The economic benefits of an infusion of $8.56 billion in federal funds for health care over nine years would dwarf those of a $1.48 billion tax cut.

If we want to make the best decision for our state’s health and prosperity, turning down federal dollars to extend Medicaid to low-income Oklahomans is the truly unaffordable choice.

For a fact sheet version of this blog post, click here. For more analysis and information on expanding Medicaid, click here

(1) This number does not include  the “woodwork” population of those currently eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid. This population is expected to enroll in Medicaid whether or note the state extends Medicaid eligibility.

Where the Affordable Care Act fits into the gun control debate

by | February 20th, 2013 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (1)

329644_1507Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the debate surrounding gun violence, gun control, and mental health has gained renewed prominence. Last month, President Obama laid out proposals to reduce gun violence which include increasing access to mental health services.  The affordable access to these services has been a constant barrier to some Americans in need of treatment. There have been multiple pieces of bipartisan legislation introduced since the Connecticut shooting, addressing the need for increased access and training in mental health services. Starting January of 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will help to reduce barriers to mental health services by increasing access to mental health benefits.  Embracing the implementation of the ACA will be one solution to preventing another tragic mass shooting. 

The ACA allows states to expand Medicaid coverage to working individuals with income levels up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). The expansion of Medicaid will potentially cover 13.4 million uninsured people with mental and behavioral health conditions. In addition to Medicaid expansion, employers with more than fifty full time employees will now be required to offer affordable health insurance.The act also establishes insurance marketplaces for individuals who are not Medicaid eligible and don’t have access to affordable health insurance through their employer.  Individuals with income levels up to four times the FPL will be eligible for premium tax credits to purchase insurance through the marketplace.

Insurance companies will be required to offer “qualified health plans” through the insurance marketplaces. While qualified health plans have not been specifically defined as of yet, they must all provide “minimum essential benefits” as defined by the ACA. Mental health services are included under the minimum essential benefits. With access to health insurance through Medicaid, an employer, or the insurance marketplace, individuals will be guaranteed the same level of mental health benefits as medical and surgical benefits.

In addition to the ACA, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) exist to ensure parity in mental health benefits. The MHPAEA aimed to create “parity” by eliminating historical differences in group health insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse benefits and medical/surgical benefits. Getting mental health parity legislation passed and implemented has been a long and difficult journey. Efforts in achieving mental health parity date back 50 years, starting when President John Kennedy called for parity in mental health benefits for federal employee health insurance plans.

In 1997, Senators Pete Domenici from New Mexico and Paul Wellstone from Minnesota succeeded in getting the Mental Health Parity Act passed. The legislation required group health plans with fifty or more employees that offered mental health benefits to apply the same lifetime and annual dollar limits to mental health coverage as those applied to coverage for medical and surgical benefits. Efforts to improve the legislation continued for more than a decade. It wasn’t until the passage of the MHPAEA did true parity between mental health and medical/surgical benefits begin to occur.

However, there are several limitations to the MHPAEA and ACA. The MHPAEA doesn’t require employers to offer mental health benefits. The ACA requires insurance plans sold through the insurance marketplaces to offer mental health benefits, but exempts employers who already provide affordable health insurance to their employees from offering mental health benefits if they are not currently offering the benefits. Also, when the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the ACA, the Court gave the states the option of expanding Medicaid. As of mid-February, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have decided to expand Medicaid in compliance with the ACA. As a result, those individuals who are unable to receive coverage under Medicaid will be unable to access affordable health insurance which will include mental health benefits.

Now that the gun control debate is back in the national spotlight and President Obama has committed his administration to working on solutions to curb gun violence, the MHPAEA and the ACA are two mechanisms that will ensure individuals will have access to mental health services. Both Congressional Senators from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe agreed with President Obama’s efforts to increase mental health services as one solution to preventing gun violence. In her State of the State address, Governor Mary Fallin, emphasized the need for more resources to be put towards the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to assist children and their families who suffer from emotional disturbances.

Unfortunately, Governor Fallin has failed to take the extra vital step in getting uninsured working Oklahomans access to needed health insurance including mental health benefits by refusing to accept federal funds to expand the Medicaid program in Oklahoma. The full implementation and acceptance of the ACA will demonstrate the country’s willingness to ensure individuals are getting the mental health services they need and hopefully avert the next tragic mass shooting.



Wither Insure Oklahoma?

by | January 16th, 2013 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (6)

Insure Oklahoma2In announcing that Oklahoma would not take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults, Governor Mary Fallin stated she was committed to developing an “Oklahoma Plan to reduce the number of uninsured and the costs of healthcare”. According to several news reports, the options under consideration include expansion of Insure Oklahoma.

Insure Oklahoma involves a mix of public and private funding, and includes a modified benefit package compared to traditional Medicaid, along with greater cost-sharing responsibilities for participants. These features of the program have made Insure Oklahoma popular with some elected officials who are typically less than fully supportive of traditional Medicaid, and have led some to hold out Insure Oklahoma as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the ACA.

However, with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, the future of programs like Insure Oklahoma becomes highly uncertain. The federal government is unlikely to extend Insure Oklahoma in its present form and may not extend it at all. Even if the program could be continued in some form, its financial terms are far less favorable to the state than the Medicaid expansion proposed by the Affordable Care Act. Rather than trying to preserve Insure Oklahoma, the state would be much better off by expanding Medicaid in a way that takes advantage of federal willingness to provide flexibility regarding benefit packages and cost-sharing for the newly-eligible Medicaid population, and by pursuing premium assistance options within the Medicaid program.

Insure Oklahoma is a health insurance program created in 2005 under a Medicaid 1115 waiver to provide coverage for low-income adults. The state’s share of funding for Insure Oklahoma comes from a portion of the tobacco tax revenues approved by Oklahoma voters in 2004 that generates over $40 million annually for the program. There are two components of Insure Oklahoma:

  • Employer-Sponsored Insurance (ESI) provides premium assistance to employees and their spouses with income up to 200 percent of the poverty level to purchase employer coverage. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible to participate in Insure Oklahoma. Employers and employees pay a portion of the cost of coverage, and Medicaid covers the rest;
  • The Individual Plan (IO) allows qualified adults and their dependents with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level to buy into Medicaid coverage. It is available to employees of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees who are not eligible for employer-based coverage, self-employed adults, the temporarily unemployed, and some adults with disabilities. Members pay up to 5 percent of their income towards the cost of coverage, with the remainder paid for by Medicaid.

Insure Oklahoma currently covers 30,693 members, of whom 54 percent (16,620) are insured through Employer-Sponsored Insurance and 46 percent (14,073) through the Individual Plan. Currently, 96 percent of IO members are adults, with the remainder being dependent children and students.

The Affordable Care Act has, in some ways, made a program like Insure Oklahoma redundant. IO members with income above 100 percent of the federal poverty level – some 22,000 individuals – will qualify for tax credits, paid for entirely with federal funds, to purchase insurance on the new health insurance exchanges, which, in Oklahoma, will be operated by the federal government. IO members with incomes below the poverty level, some 8,600 current members, were expected to become eligible for Medicaid, with the federal government assuming 100 percent of the cost for the first three years (2014-16) and 90 percent from 2020 onwards. With Governor Fallin’s rejection of Medicaid expansion, IO members with incomes below the poverty level are likely to join the ranks of the roughly 130,000 uninsured working-age Oklahomans who will be stuck in a coverage crater, earning too little to qualify for tax credits.

What will happen to Insure Oklahoma beyond 2013? The Tulsa World reported in December that federal officials informed the Oklahoma Health Care Authority they are not interested in continuing partnerships like the Insure Oklahoma program once the ACA’s new coverage options kick in. More recently, sources have indicated that states have been told they can request extensions of premium assistance waiver programs, although waivers are unlikely to be approved in their present forms. Yet even if Oklahoma were to gain approval for an extension of Insure Oklahoma, it would be fiscally irresponsible to follow that route since the state would be required to pay the traditional Medicaid state match of roughly 35 percent, rather than having the federal government foot 90 to 100 percent of the bill.

At the same time, the federal government is signaling a clear willingness to allow states that expand Medicaid increased flexibility in shaping coverage for those newly eligible for Medicaid.  In a recent set of Questions and Answers to Governors, Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote:

For the newly eligible adults, states will have flexibility under the statute to provide benefits benchmarked to commercial plans and they can design different benefit packages for different populations. We also intend to propose further changes related to cost sharing.

In addition, Oklahoma could retain a premium assistance component as part of its Medicaid expansion through what are known as  Section 1906 premium assistance programs, which many other states already do as part of their regular Medicaid program.

The Governor has said publicly that she plans to reduce the number of uninsured and the costs of healthcare.  Yet by rejecting Medicaid expansion, Oklahoma gives up the chance to have federal funds cover the lion’s share of the costs of insuring a large share of the state’s uninsured population, while leaving itself in a worse position to continue the Insure Oklahoma model in some future form. That sounds like no plan at all.


What Governor Fallin’s healthcare decisions mean for Oklahomans

by | December 18th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (2)

Just before Thanksgiving, Governor Mary Fallin announced a pair of important decisions related to the Affordable Care Act. She said that Oklahoma would not participate in the expansion of Medicaid for low-income adults and would not create its own state-based health insurance exchange. Where do these decisions leave Oklahomans?

The Affordable Care Act provides two primary mechanisms to extend health insurance coverage to most of the 48 million Americans, and 694,000 Oklahomans, who are currently uninsured. The first is to extend Medicaid coverage to working-age adults with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, roughly $30,000 per year for a family of four. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program; to encourage state participation in the expansion of coverage, the federal government committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of newly eligible Medicaid participants for three years (2014-16) and ultimately to pay 90 percent of the cost from 2020 forward.

Unfortunately, refusing to expand Medicaid slams the door on roughly 130,000 uninsured Oklahomans with incomes below the poverty level. This population will be stuck in a huge ‘coverage crater‘, without access to private coverage or public support. This decision is also a major blow to Oklahoma’s health care providers,  who will remain stuck with absorbing and trying to pass along the crippling costs of uncompensated care, which total $600 million annually for hospitals alone, according to the Oklahoma Hospital Association.

continue reading What Governor Fallin’s healthcare decisions mean for Oklahomans

Leadership urged to reconsider Medicaid expansion decision

by | December 12th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare, OK Policy | Comments (1)

In a letter from its Board of Directors, Oklahoma Policy Institute has urged Governor Fallin and legislative leaders to reconsider the Governor’s decision not to participate in the expansion of Medicaid for uninsured low-income adults.

“The practical benefits of accepting these benefits would be positive for Oklahoma families, healthcare providers, businesses, and the state’s economy as a whole”, the letter states.

The bipartisan seven-member Board of Directors is chaired by Vincent LoVoi and includes Don Millican, Nancy Robertson, Albert “Kell” Kelly, Steve Burrage, Susan Neal and Linda Edmondson.

continue reading Leadership urged to reconsider Medicaid expansion decision

Jeff Alderman: Missouri analysis shows economic benefits of Medicaid expansion

by | December 10th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (3)

Jeff Alderman, MD is an associate professor at OU-Tulsa, and a regular contributor to OK Policy’s blog

Governor Mary Fallin recently decided to forego Medicaid expansion for low-income adults in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act.  The Governor asserted that Oklahoma’s cost for Medicaid expansion would approach $475 million between 2014 and 2020, which would significantly jeopardize critical parts of the state’s budget like education and public safety.

As OK Policy has shown, the Governor overstates the true cost of Medicaid expansion by making unrealistic assumptions, while ignoring potential savings and new revenues. A newly released study commissioned by the Missouri Hospital Administration further calls Governor Fallin’s projections into doubt. Using sophisticated research tools, including highly regarded economic software called IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning), researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and a Vienna, Va.-based health consulting firm concluded that expanding Medicaid in Missouri (which has nearly double the population of Oklahoma) would cost the federal government $8.2 billion and the state $333 million between 2014 and 2020. Yet, the report strongly suggests that Missouri would actually generate additional revenue from Medicaid expansion, resulting from increased jobs and stronger economic growth in the health care sector that would produce a windfall of taxes to state coffers over seven years. Specifically, the study found Medicaid expansion in Missouri over seven years would: 

continue reading Jeff Alderman: Missouri analysis shows economic benefits of Medicaid expansion

Employers better off keeping workers’ coverage under new health law

by | August 23rd, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (5)

This post originally ran on our blog in November 2011 and is part of an ongoing series of posts examining the Affordable Care Act. For links to previous posts and additional resources, please visit the health care reform page on our website. 

Employer-based health insurance coverage is the single largest pillar of the American health insurance system. Unemployment and rising costs continue to erode employer-based coverage, but more than half of all Americans – 169 million –  are still insured through employers.  The federal tax code has long encouraged employers to provide coverage by making employer health care expenditures tax-deductible.

The new federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aims to expand health insurance coverage in the United States in part by strengthening employer-based coverage. The law provides sizable tax credits to small businesses (≤25 employees) that offer insurance. Beginning in 2014, large employers (≥50 employees) will have new responsibilities to provide coverage.  Known as the ‘play or pay’ provision, the law outlines that:

  • If a large employer does not offer coverage and any of its employees receives a premium subsidy through a health insurance exchange, it will be subject to a fee of $2,000 per full-time employee (in excess of 30 employees);
  • Large employers that offer only unaffordable coverage to workers will also be subject to a fee if employees receive subsidized coverage through an exchange;
  • Large employers must automatically enroll employees into their lowest-cost plan if the employee does not sign-up for or opt-out of the employer’s coverage.

Critics of this provision claim that employers will drop employee coverage and simply pay the penalty instead. The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan financial scorekeeper for the federal government, has determined such assertions to be inaccurate.  Opponents of the law disregard the CBO findings, instead frequently citing a survey of employers by McKinsey and Company, which reported that 30 percent of employers said they would definitely or probably stop offering coverage after 2014.  The McKinsey survey  is considered deeply flawed by health policy experts.  However, it formed the basis for a U.S. House Committee report claiming the ACA will lead to a large erosion of employer-sponsored coverage and for testimony before Oklahoma’s Task Force on the Federal Health Law asserting that “most employers WILL drop coverage.”

Yet, actuarial analysis released recently by a large Oklahoma employer contradicts the McKinsey survey’s findings.  Mike Rogers, Health Care Committee Chair of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, addressed a state legislative task force concerning the likelihood that his company BancFirst (1,425 employees) would maintain or drop employee coverage in 2014.  They concluded it would be significantly more expensive to their company to drop coverage:

BancFirst found that maintaining employee coverage would cost them an additional $410K. This reflects the costs of more employees signing up for coverage (+70 employees) and penalty costs ($3,000 per employee) for 54 employees for whom the company’s insurance would be unaffordable and who would instead receive premium subsidies through the exchange.  Conversely, dropping coverage would cost BancFirst an additional $1.2M.  These increased costs reflect: 1) losing the 35 percent corporate tax deduction and 7.65 percent FICA tax deduction they currently receive for employee health insurance expenses, and 2) paying the $2,000 per employee penalty for their entire payroll (exempting the first 30 employees).  According to their own analysis, it will cost BancFirst an additional $771K to drop employee coverage when the new ACA provision goes into effect in 2014 versus continuing coverage.

This analysis offers strong empirical evidence to support the claim that employers will play, not pay, in 2014.  As companies crunch the numbers and consider the full range of costs and savings, especially tax deductions for employer health care expense and penalties for not offering coverage, they will likely reach the same conclusion as BancFirst’s actuaries: providing coverage will be best for business’ bottom line.

Avoiding the Medicaid 'coverage crater'

by | August 13th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (1)

When Congress approved a prescription drug benefit for the Medicare program in the mid-2000s, it created the infamous ‘Medicare donut hole‘ – a large gap in coverage of prescription drug costs.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark health care law, brought about important changes that gradually eliminates the ‘donut hole’ by 2020. But now, as a result of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, low-income Oklahomans could find themselves in a similar situation,  stuck in a ‘coverage crater’, without access to public or private coverage and consigned to the ranks of the uninsured.

The ACA adopts two primary mechanisms to cover the uninsured. The first is to expand Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program that primarily covers low-income children, seniors, and persons with disabilities. In Oklahoma, like in many states, Medicaid coverage for working-age adults is extremely limited. Only parents of dependent children with incomes below roughly $7,000 per year for a family of three (37 percent of the federal poverty level) are eligible. Working-age adults without children are ineligible for Medicaid regardless of how little they earn. The uninsured rate for this population is extremely high, nearing 50 percent in Oklahoma. This population is especially likely to suffer from chronic physical and mental health conditions that make earning a steady income difficult.

The ACA makes adults with income up to 133 percent of poverty eligible for Medicaid as of January 1, 2014. To ensure that states go along with the expansion, the law provided both a large carrot and a heavy stick. The incentive is a federal commitment to cover the lion’s share of the costs of the newly-eligible Medicaid population – 100 percent for three years, then phasing down to 90 percent in 2020 and subsequent years. For states that didn’t adopt the expansion, the federal government could withdraw all federal funds for the Medicaid program.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the threat of withholding all federal Medicaid funds for a state that does not expand  coverage for low-income adults was unconstitutional. As SCOTUSblog explains:

continue reading Avoiding the Medicaid 'coverage crater'

Guest Blog (Dr. John Schumann): 'Help Wanted' for Medicaid expansion

by | July 30th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (3)

John Henning Schumann is a writer and doctor in Tulsa. He runs the Internal Medicine residency at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine. He created the blog and is on Twitter @GlassHospital.

Despite its complexities and its politics, I support the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).  As I’ve written elsewhere, I think it would be both morally and economically wrong for Governor Fallin and the Oklahoma legislature to opt out of the ACA’s vast Medicaid expansion – a position shared by Oklahoma Policy Institute.  So if Oklahoma does the right thing and opts to expand Medicaid for adults with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, what will happen?

Oklahoma faces a serious shortage of primary care access. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the agency in charge of administering Medicaid, recently compiled county-by-county maps, color-coded to classify areas of severe physician shortage based on presumptive levels of Medicaid expansion.  At a glance, these maps reveal something we already know: rural areas are hurting for physicians and populous counties seem to have more capacity.  In my opinion, however, the maps don’t paint a full picture of the eventual shortfall.

continue reading Guest Blog (Dr. John Schumann): 'Help Wanted' for Medicaid expansion

(Summer Re-Run) Medicaid Matters: Study finds coverage boosts health outcomes and financial security

by | July 17th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (1)

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, states must decide whether to expand Medicaid to cover adults with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level.  This post originally ran on our blog in July 2011 and is part of an ongoing series of posts examining the Affordable Care Act. For links to other posts and resources, please visit the health care reform page on our website.

As states and Washington grapple with ongoing budget shortfalls, the Medicaid program is often in the crosshairs of those calling for major reductions in government spending. But while the costs of funding Medicaid are readily apparent, we should not forget the program’s crucial role in providing health care for those who may be too poor or too unhealthy to buy coverage in the commercial insurance market. Recently, a path-breaking new study reported that when those without health insurance are enrolled in Medicaid, they see wide-ranging benefits in terms of access to health care services, better physical and mental health, and financial stability. These findings should assume great importance in ongoing state and federal debates on Medicaid and health care reform.

continue reading (Summer Re-Run) Medicaid Matters: Study finds coverage boosts health outcomes and financial security

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