December 30, 2013
Hazards Await Hard-Working Virginians on January 1st
By not expanding access to health care through Medicaid, state policymakers are leaving tens of thousands of hard-working Virginians out in the cold and hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. Starting January 1, 2014, uninsured people all across the country will finally become eligible for the quality, affordable health care they need. But not in Virginia. That’s because Virginia lawmakers have yet to expand Medicaid, which will hurt the state’s residents, budget, and economy.
Among the report’s key findings:
- Virginians will fall into the coverage gap.
- Starting January 1, 2014, 195,000 Virginians will fall into the coverage gap because of lawmakers’ refusal to expand Medicaid.
- These Virginians will remain uninsured because they make too much qualify for Medicaid under the current program, but not enough to get tax credits in the marketplace.
- For example, a family of four making over $90,000 a year can get tax credits, but a family of four making between $8,500 and $23,500 can’t.
- Working families will be hit the hardest.
- Seventy percent of the Virginians who will fall into the coverage gap are in working families.
- They struggle to get coverage through employers despite working in some of the most important parts of the state’s economy – tourism, retail trade, and construction.
- Every day Medicaid expansion is delayed costs the state millions.
- Each day the state loses out on about $5 million in federal funds set aside for Medicaid expansion.
- Using the federal funds for Medicaid expansion, the state would save $370,000 in general funds every day.
- Refusal to expand Medicaid hurts Virginia’s economy.
- Medicaid expansion could support an average of 20,000 jobs in the early years of expansion and nearly 30,000 jobs in later years.
- These additional jobs could create additional tax revenue for the state, making more resources available for mental health care, education, transportation, and public safety.