Making the Right Choice on Medicaid: Refusing Expansion Would be a Costly Mistake

Executive Summary

Issue brief from The Commonwealth Institute, by John McInerney and Michael J. Cassidy

The expansion of Medicaid in 2014, made possible by federal health care reform, would be a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of Virginians, a real bargain for the Commonwealth, and a much needed boost to our economy.
If Virginia doesn?t implement the expansion, it will forego tens of billions in federal funding, create a stunning new gap in coverage for hundreds of thousands of Virginians, and stand in stark contrast to Virginia?s history of timely implementation of previous insurance expansions.
Thousands of hard working low-income Virginia families will make too much to qualify for existing Medicaid coverage but not enough to qualify for subsidies to purchase insurance in the new private health insurance marketplaces (called health benefit exchanges). They will be left in a costly gap with no coverage (Figure 1).
The right choice for the Commonwealth is to expand Medicaid.
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