The primary push for states to accept the Medicaid expansion isn’t going to come from legislators, but from hospitals. You can probably guess why.
Hospitals and providers were expecting millions of low-income and disabled patients to join Medicaid’s ranks under health reform, but the court ruled that the federal government couldn’t withhold all Medicaid funds to states that opt out of expanding coverage, potentially inhibiting participation.
“They will scream for this money because they would rather see more people covered under Obama’s signature initiative than have bad debt,” healthcare consultant and former lobbyist John Gorman said of state-level lobbying by hospitals and physicians, noted the WSJ.
Analysts are expecting hospitals and health centers to target ramped-up lobbying efforts to their states’ Republican lawmakers, reported Kaiser Health News.
Hospitals are calling for increased Medicaid coverage to ensure affordable and accessible healthcare for their most vulnerable patient populations.
“If a state chose not to participate in the expansion, the poorest of the poor would be impacted,” Grady Health System CEO John M. Haupert told KHN.
Similarly, San Antonio’s University Health System was looking for Medicaid expansion to cover many of its 54,000 uninsured residents, the Houston Chronicle noted. But if Texas opts out, UHS President George B. Hernández Jr. wants state lawmakers to at least give counties a local alternative expand the program themselves.