Medicaid Expansion is 'Bargain' for Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota, October 25, 2012 - Minnesota can save $1.0 billion, improve access to health insurance for more than 140,000 Minnesotans and reduce health care costs for everyone if the 2013 Legislature makes just one decision.

Policymakers should cover more Minnesotans who need affordable and comprehensive health insurance through Medicaid to take advantage of this bargain.

This opportunity is available because of a provision in the federal health care law that allows states to expand Medicaid to more low-income people, mostly adults without children, who currently don’t qualify.

“This decision would help 140,000 Minnesotans who face a frustrating reality – like everyone else, they need health insurance, yet struggle to afford premiums and co-payments in the current market,” said Minnesota Budget Project Deputy Director Christina Wessel. “They end up in costly emergency rooms when a health care crisis strikes. If they can’t pay for that health care, the costs are passed on to people with private insurance and to health care providers.”

Wessel said federal funding would save Minnesota about $1.0 billion over a five-year period.

“That’s a good bargain for the state and for Minnesotans with private insurance who now shoulder much of the cost of caring for patients without insurance through higher premiums,” according to Wessel. “It's a deal the state should not pass up.”

A new Minnesota Budget Project brief details the issues and explains the advantages to expanding access to health insurance through Medicaid.

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