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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Marc Veasey (TX-33) and Terri Sewell (AL-07)today introduced legislation to ensure that all states that expand Medicaid coverage under the terms of the Affordable Care Act receive an equal federal match for expansion, regardless of when a state chooses to expand Medicaid coverage.

“The writing is on the wall and the facts are clear: premiums and health care costs are higher in states that have not expanded Medicaid. And over 90% of rural hospital closures have been in states that did not expand Medicaid before the closure. In my state, approximately 314,000 more Alabamians would be covered under Medicaid expansion. Not doing so is a poor decision,” Sewell said. “And while I can’t force Alabama’s governor to expand Medicaid, I can continue to promote legislation that provides more incentives for her to do so. Today’s legislation is a step in the right direction and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get it passed.”

“The bill will create an incentive for all eligible States to provide affordable health care coverage for all of their citizens,” Veasey said. “In Texas, approximately 638,000 people would gain coverage if Medicaid were expanded. This is a no-brainer for the state of Texas and for the fourteen states across the country who haven’t adopted this program.”  

For states that chose to expand their Medicaid programs to cover individuals up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level during the first three years of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government covered the full cost of expansion for those three years. Unfortunately, under current law, states that have not yet expanded Medicaid have missed the window to receive a full federal match for any amount of time.

To incentivize states to expand the program, Sewell and Veasey’s legislation would allow states that expand Medicaid in the future to receive a 100 percent federal match for the first three years, 95 percent for the fourth year, 94 percent for the fifth year, 93 percent for the sixth year and 90 percent for each year thereafter.

The bill would allow thousands of low-income families and non-elderly adults without children to enroll in Medicaid, giving them access to affordable health insurance. In Alabama, this population currently makes too much or isn’t eligible to enroll in Medicaid and makes too little to qualify for tax credits through the ACA marketplace. 

The Incentivizing Medicaid Expansion Act of 2019 is available here.

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