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  • Steven Corn

Medicaid Expansion And The Uninsured

This month we saw great gains in Medicaid expansion. Prior to the mid-term elections, there were 18 states that did not offer expanded medicaid coverage under the ACA law:

States with expanded medicaid under the ACA law.

As a result of the mid-terms, Idaho, Nebraska and Utah voters all approved medicaid expansion. These are major victories in light of the fact that these states had previously resisted, rather strenuously, to do so.

There is one fact that may have changed the minds of the voters in these states. And that would be the rate of uninsured in states that have not expanded Medicaid. These are the top 10 states with the most uninsured adults:

  1. Texas (19.8%)

  2. Oklahoma (16.3%)

  3. Georgia (15.5%)

  4. Alaska (15.1%)

  5. Mississippi (14.5%)

  6. Florida (14.4%)

  7. Wyoming (13.1%)

  8. S. Carolina (12.8%)

  9. N. Carolina (12.5%)

  10. Idaho (12.2%)

Alaska was the only state that already expanded Medicaid. But all the rest have not done so...until Idaho.

Average uninsured adults by state
Source: Wallethub

It's not a perfect comparison to make between the rate of adult uninsured and the lack of Medicaid expansion. There may be no statistical correlation. But it does seem rather odd that the highest rates of uninsured and the decision not to expand Medicaid overlap substantially. And people in these states complain very loudly about the failure of the Affordable Care Act.

And here's another fairly close connection between medical debt and states without expanded Medicaid:

States with the most medical debt
Source: The Atlantic

Look at the highest percentage of medical debt. Most are in states without Medicaid expansion.

OK, there's not a perfect correlation between expanding Medicaid and lowering the uninsured rate or medical debt percentage. It does seem to help in most states that have chosen to do so.

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