Many states with few insured citizens aren’t expanding Medicaid under Obamacare

September 17, 2013
Booklets outlining health insurance options for Californians is seen at a Senior Information & Resource Fair in South Gate, California September 10, 2013 . The event included a discussion of how the Affordable Care Act, also called "Obamacare" will impact senior citizens and what insurance plans will be available to them. With just weeks until a centerpiece of the health care reform law launches, the task of spreading the word about new health insurance marketplaces will fall to local navigators and counselors employed locally but funded by federal grant money. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BeckROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

States whose citizens are most likely to be uninsured are also more likely than not to refuse extra aid under the president’s health-care law.

Six of the 10 states with the lowest rates of coverage have no plans to expand low-income aid under Obamacare, according to an analysis of new Census data. Meanwhile, eight of the 10 states with the highest rates plan to allow the expansion.

Expanding Medicaid assistance was a major part of the landmark health-care reform. But, in ruling that law constitutional last year, the Supreme Court also said states had the right to refuse the expansion. So far, 26 states are moving ahead with it, according to a tracker maintained by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The debate rages on in three states and 22 are not planning to move ahead.

Of the 25 states with the highest rates of health coverage, only seven are refusing expansion at this time. Of the half of states with the lowest coverage rates, 15 have no plans to expand Medicaid.

Nearly one in four Texans lacked health coverage last year, more than in any other state. More than one in five lacked coverage in Nevada, New Mexico and Florida, while just under one in five residents of Georgia, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana and Arizona had no coverage. Of those 10 states with the lowest coverage rates, only Nevada, New Mexico, Arkansas and Arizona have plans to move ahead with the expansion

Just over 10 percent of citizens of Michigan, Delaware and Iowa lack health coverage, while less than one in10  in Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota, Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont and Massachusetts do. Only Wisconsin and Maine have no plans to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare.

Here’s a chart of states by coverage rate:

 Here’s Kaiser’s chart of which states are or are not expanding Medicaid:


Status of state action on the Medicaid expansion, as of Sept. 16. (Kaiser Family Foundation.)
Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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