Maine Can’t Afford to Ignore the Facts: Other States are seeing the Benefits of Accepting Federal Health Care Funds
Thirty-two states have accepted federal health care funds to provide health insurance coverage to people with low income. Many of these states are seeing savings and other benefits as a result of using these funds to expand Medicaid. Maine can still accept the federal funds to expand our Medicaid Program -MaineCare. Doing so would provide coverage for approximately 70,000 Mainers with low income, most of whom are working but are not offered coverage through employment. Accepting these federal funds would bring an estimated $470 million in new funds to Maine next year and would help create more than 3,000 good paying jobs throughout the state.
States that accepted the federal health care funds continue to report benefits including state savings and the ability to connect vulnerable people to care. People who have behavioral health issues or who may be experiencing homelessness, for example, have better access to care. The clinics and health care providers serving these vulnerable people are experiencing improved financial stability. States, including Arizona and Washington, are assisting people in jail to apply for coverage before being released so they will have health coverage when they get out. These individuals are then more likely to receive care for complex medical conditions, which reduces their chances of reentry into the corrections system. This not only helps to reduce corrections spending but also increases the likelihood that these individuals can become and stay employed.
Another new report shows Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act leads to better care and improves financial well-being of new enrollees. Medicaid expansion has improved the financial status for new enrollees because they have fewer unpaid bills. The study found a reduction in third-party collections of $600 to $1000 per individual in expansion states.
Maine can still accept the federal health care funds. Maine Equal Justice will continue working with lawmakers, partners and others to make this happen, sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you can help by reaching out to your local Senator and Representative, and candidates running for those seats, to let them know how you feel about this important issue. Visit www.CoverMaineNow.com or contact Ann Woloson at 1-866-626-7059, ext. 210 for more information.