Governors Refuse Medicaid Expansion - What's at Stake?
Shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold Obamacare, opponents of women’s health announced their decisions to reject key elements of the law.
Why? Because part of the Supreme Court’s ruling stipulated that the federal government could not threaten to withhold existing Medicaid dollars to the states if they chose not to participate in the expansion program. As a result, many Republican governors, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, Florida Governor Rick Scott, and Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad, have announced their intentions to reject these funds.
So what does this mean for women and families in the states?
Well, first of all it means that residents in the state will continue to pay taxes that will ultimately help support the Medicaid program. However, instead of reaping the benefits of paying their share, the health care funds will go to another state, where they willingly expand
the Medicaid program.
Ultimately though, the decision by these governors to refuse expansion will deny affordable care for women and low-income families in their home states. To be clear, these politicians would rather turn down hundreds of millions in Medicaid funds raised through their own constituents’ taxes than help make health care more affordable.
Ironically, some of the governors who have already indicated they will not expand their programs (we’re looking at you Rick Perry and Rick Scott), are in the states where the current number of uninsured is the highest. Florida has 30 percent uninsured and Texas has 26 percent uninsured.
This is another sad, deliberate attack on women’s health by politicians who are willing to go so far as to reject free money from the federal government in order to make a political statement. The expanded Medicaid proposal would benefit low-income individuals who fall far below the poverty line, and primarily it would benefit women — who make up 68 percent of the program’s participants. Without the expansion, women wouldn’t get prenatal care — (Medicaid requires coverage of prenatal assistance for women up to twice the federal poverty level), and they would be denied expanded access to preventive care. Ultimately this would result in less healthy women and less healthy families.