Over the past decade, there have been significant expansions in policies that support low-income working families, such as refundable tax credits, health insurance, child support enforcement, child care subsidies, and nutritional supports. These programs help hard working families who struggle to meet basic needs due to low wages, irregular hours and lack of benefits. However, this safety net is incomplete. CLASP advocates for improvements in individual programs and in the service delivery system to help ensure low-income families have the support they need to stay employed and provide for their families.
Medicaid Expansion Significantly Decreases Financial Hardship and Improves Mental Health
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the impact of expanded Medicaid coverage has gained national attention. The study collected data on Oregon residents who received insurance through the state's expanded health care program. Although 90,000 low-income people qualified and applied for the program, only 10,000 ultimately received coverage. Unlike previous studies, this allowed researchers to test the impact of Medicaid expansion by comparing health and other outcomes between those who received coverage and those who did not.
One of the key conclusions drawn by the study is that health care coverage nearly eliminated out-of-pocket medical expenses, especially catastrophic expenditures, for the program's 10,000 participants. As the study's lead researcher stated, Medicaid coverage generated "enormous reductions in financial strain and hardship," preventing participants from having to face mounting medical costs and/or debt, while also reducing other forms of financial strain such as borrowing money or delaying other bill payments.
This is good news for poor families who have a hard time making ends meet. Without health care coverage, they must often choose between paying medical bills or other basic necessities. Expanded Medicaid coverage can eliminate that stress, allowing low-income families to pay for things like rent, food, and childcare without racking up debt.
Benefit Access and Health Care Reform ResourcesHealth care reform has the potential to dramatically change the way low-income individuals and families apply for and receive other benefits, such as nutritional assistance and the earned income tax credit. READ MORE »
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- Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Julie Strawn, and Patrick Reimherr | Apr 15, 2013 Comments on Education and Family Tax Benefits
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