As the CBPP reports, in the short time that states have been able to expand Medicaid, there is a significant divide between those states that expanded and those who have not. In this time, coverage rates have soared, and hospitals are treated fewer uninsured patients. The states that have gotten on board have much greater gains than the ones who have not. In fact, these participating states have actually saved money (close to $100 million/month on average) compared to the others who are losing money due to more uninsured patients (known as the coverage gap – those who can’t afford regular insurance but do not qualify for Medicaid).
Medicaid expansion is a great fiscal move for states for a couple key reasons right now for a few reasons:
1. The government is covering it through at least 2016.
2. With there being less of those on the coverage gap, hospitals save money by not treating poor uninsured patients.
Here is a map of the states with and without expanded coverage:
States such as Arkansas, Arizona, and Michigan have saved 10s to 100s of millions of dollars due to their decision to expand Medicaid. So, with this data, Medicaid supporters have a very strong argument against those that appose it; Or at least they do right now. It will be interesting to see what the future brings for these states, maybe when the federal government stops paying for mostly all of the expansion (they will still pay 90% for a few subsequent years after 2016 if it remains). It will also be interesting what this will do for our federal debt, as the expansion is very expensive from a national standpoint. One thing is clear, however, that right now states are raking in major benefits for getting on board with this. And those that are not will likely continue to lose money and miss out on this great opportunity until it either stays or fades away.