West Virginians scored a huge win today! WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin decided to accept federal funds available under the health care law to cover more hardworking women and families through the Medicaid program. After months of activism by fantastic on-the-ground organizations like WVFREE and state advocates, Governor Tomblin made the right call.
The new health care law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allocates money for each state to cover more uninsured people through Medicaid. It’s a great deal for states, since these federal dollars will cover 100% of costs in the first few years and will ultimately pay for 90% of the yearly costs of this coverage. But because last year’s Supreme Court decision made accepting these funds optional, in states that choose to turn down the money, some people will earn too little to qualify for tax credits to purchase coverage in the new health insurance marketplace, yet won’t be able to obtain coverage through Medicaid. In other words, these people will fall into a “coverage gap” and will get no help toward affording health coverage, while some people who make more money will still get help.
We continue to watch Governors and state legislators across the country as they make a crucial decision that will have an enormous impact on women and families.
Under the new federal health care law, women and families in Maine who are currently uninsured could get affordable health coverage starting next year. That’s because the law includes money to cover more people through Medicaid. Right now, Maine has an important decision to make—accept federal dollars that have been allocated to cover uninsured individuals through Medicaid or turn down the money and leave them uninsured. If Maine accepts the federal funds to cover more people, not only will it improve women’s health and dramatically reduce the number of uninsured, it will also ensure a smarter use of health care dollars.
A recently released study backs this up! Yesterday researchers from Maine Equal Justice Partners and the Maine Center for Economic Policy released a comprehensive study on this opportunity. Their findings show that accepting federal funds to expand health coverage means thousands of Mainers will receive affordable comprehensive health coverage, and the state will also benefit through a boost to the state economy. Read more »
Today House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his vision for the next ten years. Despite having a section entitled "Fairness Restored," Ryan’s budget does anything but put forward a fair and equitable plan.
Repeal the Affordable Care Act, eliminating the Medicaid expansions critical for low-income families, tax credits to help moderate-income families purchase health insurance, help with the cost of prescription drugs in Medicare and preventive health care services (including contraceptive services), and protections against discriminatory insurance company practices.
It’s been an exciting few weeks for advocates who are urging Governors and state legislators to say yes! Last June, the Supreme Court upheld the health care law but let states choose whether or not to take the Affordable Care Act’s funding for covering more people through the Medicaid program. Ever since then, Virginia advocates have had their work cut out for them—making phone calls, knocking on doors, and educating anyone who will listen about the important benefits to the state of Virginia, hospitals and health systems, and to the women and families who will gain the most.
Last weekend, Virginia took a big step forward. The two-year state budget includes a compromise proposal that could lead to Virginia extending coverage to approximately 350,000 Virginians who currently lack health insurance. Under this proposal, a legislative committee will ultimately determine whether the expansion will move forward. Governor McDonnell is currently reviewing this legislation.
Under the health care law, states can accept significant federal funding to expand health coverage through the Medicaid program. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs in the first few years, and at least 90 percent of the costs after that. As many as 7 million women who are currently uninsured could gain coverage nationwide, including 169,000 uninsured Virginia women. But as governors do the arithmetic and urge their state legislators to accept the federal money, including conservative governors such as Jan Brewer (R-AZ), John Kasich (R-OH), Susanna Martinez (R-NM) and Rick Snyder (R-MI), opponents have begun to ratchet up their rhetoric and recycle worn out misinformation in an effort discourage other states from following suit.
These attacks feature some familiar arguments – Medicaid is a poor program for poor people, states can’t trust the federal government to keep its promises, Medicaid will crowd-out other state priorities. Virginia voters should not be misled by these tired tropes.
Critics like Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute think Virginians should reject the federal money, arguing that Medicaid is a costly component of the state budget. But the truth is that by accepting the federal money, Virginia will be saving taxpayer dollars and helping 169,000 hard-working women and their families get the preventive care and medical services they need. Read more »
A recent study by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine confirmed what many Governors, state legislators, advocates, and the public already know: covering more hardworking people through the Medicaid program is not only the right thing to do, it’s a good deal that makes a lot of sense.
In summary, a decision to participate in Medicaid expansion, as put forth in the [health care] law, would provide insurance coverage to approximately 500,000 North Carolinians; most of whom would remain uninsured without the expansion. Providing health insurance coverage will help people gain access to the care they need, which can help improve health outcomes. Because of the high federal match rate, the offsets, and the new tax revenues, the state would likely experience a net savings of $65.4 million from the Medicaid expansion over the eight-year time period.
I have written many a blog here at the National Women’s Law Center explaining why Medicaid is important to women’s health. Nearly 70% of adults on Medicaid are women and the program provides important benefits to women including family planning services, comprehensive maternity care, treatment for chronic conditions, treatment for breast and cervical cancer, and long-term care services and supports. If you’re a regular reader, you may have even seen my blogs explaining that Medicaid’s cost sharing limits and low or absent premiums are vital to low-income women who have limited disposable incomes to cover their family’s basic needs.
Whether served as a side dish or not, politics always seems to wiggle its way onto the Thanksgiving table. And because your family may not agree on everything (or anything), we want you to be as prepared for them as you are for the big meal.
And now that the election is over, the public debate is all about the so-called "fiscal cliff," which refers to the combination of tax cuts and numerous other provisions set to expire at the end of December plus a series of automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin in January.
Contrary to what some commentators might suggest, however, the economy won’t immediately fall into a recession if Congress doesn’t reach agreement on all of these issues by midnight on December 31. Indeed, real and lasting damage WILL be done if Members of Congress allow misguided fears to pressure them into a bad deal that cuts programs vital to women and families and fails to make the wealthiest among us pay their fair share in taxes.
To explain what this means for you – and for Aunt Edith – below are a few key myths and facts.
MYTH: If we raise taxes on the richest 2%, it will kill jobs.
FACT: We’ve seen that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. We had much stronger job growth after President Clinton raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans than after President Bush cut them. And, allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent to expire would generate nearly $1 trillion in savings. This much-needed revenue would allow us to call off the looming – and draconian – automatic cuts to programs that are also scheduled to take place. Plus, it would let us invest in human capital as well as physical infrastructure. When so many Americans can't find work, it's important to support programs that create good jobs and long-term economic growth. Read more »