The gubernatorial elections to be held next week, on Tuesday, are expected to bring a change to the health care system. A new analysis by Avalere, a consulting firm in Washington, says that the results of these elections could have a huge impact on the Medicaid coverage.
The analysis highlighted that if Democrats win the elections in particularly six states and expand the program to cover more low-income adults, it is likely that nearly 2.5 million people could gain access to Medicaid coverage.
However, the Democrats will attain this rare opportunity to expand Medicaid only if the Republicans lose competitive gubernatorial races in Florida, Georgia, South Dakota, Kansas, Maine and Wisconsin, on November 6.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare permitted states to expand Medicaid to low-income adults, which previously wasn’t eligible for the federal insurance program for the poor. Of all the reforms implemented, Medicaid expansion as a part of ACA had the major impact on the number of people with insurance.
However, 18 states, mostly run by Republican governors and legislatures, held out in protest of the health care law. Amongst these 18, six states have gubernatorial elections Tuesday and are rated as a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.
Senior vice president at Avalere, Elizabeth Carpenter said, “In states with competitive gubernatorial races, many candidates are making Medicaid expansion a key differentiator.”
“Depending on the election results, we could see Medicaid expansion on the agenda again in states across the country,” she added.
The Democrat running for governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams picked up the issue of expanding Medicaid coverage in the campaign. She believes that it will not only reinforce struggling health care systems in the state, but will also create thousands of jobs.
Abrams also stated that she would expand the program, if she wins.
Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor in Florida, also expressed his support towards Medicaid expansion.
However, despite winning in those six states, a challenge still remains in the path of expanding Medicaid.It would still require approval from the state legislatures, some of which are controlled by Republicans.
Director at Avalere, Chris Sloan said, “The popularity of Medicaid expansion has risen, particularly in states with high rates of uninsured.”
“Although state legislatures can restrict the governor’s authority to expand Medicaid unilaterally in certain states, changing voter preferences around expansion may put pressure on legislators, many of whom also face re-election in November,” he added.
Additional three states have questions on their polls to expand the Medicaid coverage to more low-income individuals.
According to Avalere’s analysis, around 325,000 would receive coverage, if voters in Nebraska, Idaho and Utah approve Medicaid expansion, next Tuesday.
The Medicaid initiative by ObamaCare is capable of providing access of health care facilities to the masses. However, the Republicans are being seen as a threat to the policy and the health of the poor. Therefore, the need for Democrats to win in the upcoming gubernatorial elections is being cited as beneficial for millions, who cannot afford the insurance. Will the results be in favour of the poor and their health?