Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Health care for our heroes

As we move into the last month of session, lawmakers will be making tough decisions about the future of our schools, public safety and transportation system to name just a few.
A decision that shouldn’t be so tough: Whether or not to expand the Medicaid program.

Beginning next year, the federal government is offering to send our tax dollars back home to cover 385,000 Washingtonians making less than $15,000/year. Over the next two years, Medicaid Expansion is estimated to save our state about $275 million.

There is no shortage of good reasons to support Medicaid Expansion, and the Urban Institute has just given us yet another.

On the national level, about 1.3 million American veterans go without health insurance. But it doesn't have to be that way.

We can all agree that we have a responsibility to these heroes, as well as their families, who have sacrificed so much for us. Medicaid Expansion gives us another opportunity to make good on that promise.

From the Urban Institute:

An estimated 40 percent of uninsured veterans (535,000 people) have incomes that, under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could qualify them for Medicaid.

Whether or not these veterans qualify for Medicaid under the ACA depends on whether – and which – states opt to expand Medicaid.

Most of those eligible – about 414,000 uninsured veterans – will only have new coverage options if they live in a state that expands Medicaid.
Right here in Washington state, about 12,200 veterans would be eligible for health care coverage under Medicaid Expansion. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we can all agree this is a step in the right direction.

For the Urban Institute’s complete report, follow this link.

Read this story in Spanish.