US President Barack Obama’s plan to expand health coverage to millions of Americans under the poverty line remains highly contentious as red states are still found reluctant in taking the health program with the required zeal and enthusiasm.
But the experts said that despite odds, the healthcare program is gaining momentum among these red states where financial expertise is trumping ideology.
The real condition of Obama’s dream health program in the red states has been exposed in a new government report that showed continued pileup of unpaid medical bills in these states that preferred not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The development has also earned criticism for these Republican-led states as they showed reluctance in expanding the health insurance program for the poor.
The report, released last week by the US government, showed that the costs of uncompensated care are projected to drop by USD 5.7 billion in 2014 largely because millions of people in the United States are eligible for expanded Medicaid insurance for the poor under the Obamacare or Affordable Care Act. The report showed that they are taking advantage.
“The projections suggest that USD 4.2 billion of this reduction will come from the 25 states and Washington D.C. expanding Medicaid as of the beginning of Financial Year 2014, representing a 25 percent reduction from baseline uncompensated care spending and 74 percent total savings,” wrote the authors in their report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
“Medicaid expansion states saw substantial declines in their uninsured admissions, ranging from 28 to 33 percent relative reductions in comparison to one year prior,” the report said.
After the Supreme Court gave its nod to the law, which was upheld by the top court two years ago, about half of the US states opted in support of expanding the Medicaid.
For instance, Texas Governor Rick Perry has turned down a Medicaid expansion in the state.
Discouraging the move, the Anne Dunkelberg, associate director at Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin told a leading daily, “The states that haven’t addressed their coverage gap haven’t moved. The local taxes raise the costs of uninsured patients when they have no coverage.”
The public hospitals, mainly those located in the rural areas or interior regions of the cities, comprises of a large numbers of uninsured people. Such hospitals are hard hit particularly in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid.
“Essential hospitals still face high levels of uncompensated care and looming cuts to disproportionate share hospital funding – a problem of particular concern in states that have denied patients the same opportunity for Medicaid coverage so many others enjoy today,” Dr. Bruce Siegel, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, said in a statement after the release of the uncompensated care report.
Essential Hospitals represents the public health systems in the US.
The report by Obama administration has not included Pennsylvania and New Hampshire as theses states had not yet commenced enrollment of the people in their expanded Medicaid programs.