The momentum has been with Medicaid lately: Nebraska is putting Medicaid expansion on the ballot in November, and Maine’s highest court ruled that the state should finally expand Medicaid, as the citizenry voted to do last year.
And a new report out of Ohio, documenting the first five years of expanded Medicaid in the Buckeye State, gave us a clear picture of the stakes in these debates. The Ohio report is a rigorously collected and extensive data set on what happens in a state when it expands Medicaid with no frills (i.e., without a work requirement) and lets the program work its will for a few years.
The dramatic slope of the uninsured rate tells the story. For the people eligible for expanded Medicaid — 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $21,000 for a family of three, and below — the uninsured fell by more than half, from 32.4 percent before Medicaid expansion to 12.8 percent.
Medicaid expansion covers people in a population where the rate of uninsurance is exponentially higher than it is for people who make more money. That much is clear. Before Obamacare, one in three people in or near poverty were uninsured in Ohio. After Obamacare, that’s dropped to one in eight.