Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Medicaid Expansion is for working families
By Tim Wheat
Medicaid expansion will not only bring billions of dollars of health care into the state of Tennessee, it will also improve the health care coverage of working families. While traditional Medicaid covers critical health care needs for people below the federal poverty level, the expansion aims at providing health coverage to those Tennesseans above the poverty level.
While Medicaid is intended to provide some health care for those who have fewest resources and the lowest income, the Tennessee Governor is not refusing federal funding of the current program. Governor Haslam has refused to expand Medicaid to citizens who make too much to qualify for the traditional program and have an income is above the federal poverty level.
“It is so important for people and policymakers to understand that the people harmed by the coverage gap are working people,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “They are not people who are looking for handouts, or welfare recipients.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services states that Medicaid Expansion would cover a family of four with an annual income less than $33,000 and a single adult income below $16,105. Families USA reported that 34,000 food service workers and 31,000 construction employees would be the leading employment sectors impacted by the Medicaid Expansion. The report also finds 112,000 Tennesseans working in Sales, Transportation, Maintenance, Office and Production that would benefit from the Medicaid Expansion.
The expansion to these employers means healthier workers and less work time lost without an investment in employer-paid insurance. It is not only state’s poor that are losing out on Medicaid Expansion, it is the business community that must shoulder the cost of uninsured workers. This cost is in addition to the $2.6 Million-a-day that taxpayers are losing out on by Governor Haslam’s procrastination on the Medicaid Expansion.