Illinois benefitted from expanding Medicaid: White House

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 07/02/2014, 08:36am

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More Illinois residents will have health insurance by 2016, jobs and be screened for conditions such as heart disease, because Illinois chose to expand Medicaid.

That comes from an analysis of all states released today by the White House, in an attempt to get more states to expand Medicaid.  The study was done by the Council of Economic Advisers, which is an agency of the president’s executive office.

Among other things, the study found that if all the states expanded Medicaid, 10 million more Americans would have health insurance by 2016.

“Today’s report is yet another reminder that access to affordable health care makes a real difference to families, hospitals and state economies across the country,” President Barack Obama said in a written statement. “I applaud the governors and state legislatures of both parties who have done the right thing and expanded Medicaid in their states, and I urge the governors and state legislatures who have not yet expanded Medicaid to put their constituents’ health over partisan politics and give millions more Americans the access to affordable health care they deserve.”

Expanding Medicaid to adults without children and without disabilities was supposed to be one of the key ways the Affordable Care Act would give more Americans coverage.  And the law had made expanding Medicaid mandatory for states.  But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states had to be given a choice about whether they would do so.

Twenty-six states, including Illinois, and the District of Columbia went ahead and expanded Medicaid.  Twenty-four states have yet to do so.

The study noted that the “actual effects of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act could be larger or smaller than the estimates presented,” since they were based on analyzing the effects of past policy decisions.  For instance, the study’s effects on health outcomes were partly based on what was found with The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. That experiment rose because Oregon could not expand all of its uninsured applicants when it expanded Medicaid.  So there was a lottery for who was allowed to enroll.

Findings for Illinois, because it expanded Medicaid include these estimates:

-       398,000 people in Illinois will have health insurance by 2016.  The last reported data from the state was approximately 287,000 people as of April 2014. About 1.6 million uninsured lived in Illinois before Oct. 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

-       58,000 more residents will have a cholesterol screening and 14,700 will have a mammogram to look for breast cancer.

-       56,600 fewer people will need to borrow money to pay medical bills or skip paying them entirely.

-       56,000 jobs will be created between 2014 and 2016.

-       The state will receive more than $4 million in federal aid for Medicaid between 2014 and 2016.

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