Millions Eligible for Health Coverage through Medicaid Expansion

Mar 07, 2013

By Lavanya Mohan and Abigail Newcomer

On February 20, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R), a vocal critic of healthcare reform, announced his state will expand Medicaid coverage, a provision of "Obamacare" affirmed last summer by the U.S. Supreme Court. Days later, Governor Chris Christie(R) of New Jersey became the most recent Governor to announce his state's participation, which will expand coverage to 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents. Gubernatorial support of the expansion does not guarantee the Medicaid expansion will happen in a state; state legislatures have a say as well. Nonetheless, as of today, 24 states' executives have announced plans to expand Medicaid. Though at times the issue has been politically charged, Republicans and Democrats are recognizing that the expansion is a good deal for states and an excellent opportunity to improve health coverage for their residents.

The decision to expand health coverage is being weighed by Governors and state legislatures across the country. In the majority of cases, it comes down to three questions:

  • Will the expansion improve health coverage and health outcomes for the uninsured?
  • Will states have the flexibility to design a program that fits their individual state context?
  • Will states and the federal government be able to afford the reform?

On all three questions, CLASP argues the answer is yes.

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