Washington, D.C. — Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with 43 CPC members, today sent a letter to all 50 state governors calling on them to set aside politics and publicly support the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid in their respective states.
By expanding Medicaid, the nation’s largest health care provider for families and children, the healthcare law will cover an estimated 17 million Americans who currently lack health coverage and cannot afford it. Struggling families and individuals across the country will soon be able to go to the doctor without fear of breaking the bank. If governors reject the expansion, millions of Americans will be left without healthcare coverage.
Beginning in 2014, the federal government will provide states with 100 percent of the funds they will need to add eligible individuals in the first three years. The federal government will gradually reduce its share to 90 percent for 2020 and beyond. The expansion will provide individuals with necessary preventive care, which costs far less than emergency medical care. It will also help our doctors and hospitals by decreasing the high costs of caring for the uninsured.
“American families have real and meaningful health care needs, and they shouldn’t have to wait for any election results to hear whether their governor stands with them,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Conservative Washington activists and their ambitious friends are sacrificing the health of millions of Americans for their own needs and keeping our health care system broken to please their contributors. It’s time for them to go on record and tell everyone whether they’ll help their own constituents. No more hiding and no more games.”
“Because of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s decision to expand Medicaid, more than a quarter million Minnesotans will now receive Medicaid coverage. They won’t have to worry about having to delay seeking care when they get sick,” Rep. Ellison said. “All state Governors should follow his example.”
“During my first week as governor, I signed an Executive Order authorizing the early expansion of Medicaid in Minnesota," said Governor Dayton of Minnesota. "I remain committed to providing good health care coverage for all Minnesotans.”
“The Medicaid expansion funded by the Affordable Care Act will help millions of uninsured Californians get essential health care without putting an additional burden on the state,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Diane S. Dooley.
"We want everybody in, nobody left out when it comes to decent health care coverage," Governor Quinn of Illinois said. "Our state will be healthier and stronger, our costs for our employers will be lower if we take full advantage of the Affordable Healthcare Act.”
The text of the letter is attached and included below:
July 24, 2012
We are writing to ask you to stand with hard-working Americans by publicly affirming that you intend to expand your Medicaid program, which will protect struggling Americans from health risks and financial uncertainty. Since the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act several governors have stated they will not implement the law by expanding Medicaid in their states. We have serious concerns that governors will refuse the Medicaid expansion for misguided political reasons and will prevent more than 17 million Americans who need coverage from receiving increased access to health care.
The Medicaid expansion provides high-quality health care coverage for individuals earning less than $15,000 a year. Once the expansion takes place millions of Americans will have access to a family doctor and preventive care, which cost far less than emergency or catastrophic medical care. Without the expansion, hospitals and doctors will continue to incur the high costs of caring for the uninsured, resulting in shifted costs that make coverage less affordable for those with insurance.
The federal government currently provides states 57% of their Medicaid funds on average and all 50 states have chosen to participate. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will provide 100 percent of the expansion funds for the first three years and 90 percent of the funds after 2020. States that currently have the lowest Medicaid coverage levels, like Alabama and Texas, stand to benefit most from federal payments to expand coverage. What’s more, states that reject Medicaid expansion will lose out on an opportunity to create jobs in the health care sector.
Each day children and adults contract minor illnesses that go untreated and become major ones—or are diagnosed with major illnesses that become tragic. Health care needs are immediate and families should not have to postpone treatment until after an election. We ask that you refuse to play politics with people’s health and publicly support expanding health care access to the thousands of people in your state who need it today.
Sheila Jackson Lee
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Eleanor Holmes Norton