States That Reject Medicaid Expansion Will Spend Billions More To Cover Fewer

June 07, 2013

According to a new study in the journal Health Affairs, states would save money by accepting the Medicaid expansion in President Obama's health care law. The study finds that fourteen of the states that have rejected the expansion will spend a combined $1 billion more on uncompensated care, and give up $8.4 billion in payments from the federal government. In addition, 3.6 million Americans who would have received coverage in the expansion will remain uninsured. Opposition to accepting the funds comes from ultra-conservative governors and state legislators. More in The Hill at http://tinyurl.com/lguy98b.

The Medicaid expansion has become an extremely divisive issue among Republicans. Several Republican governors, including Jan Brewer (AZ) and John Kasich (OH) who are attempting to expand Medicaid, are being opposed by state legislatures controlled by their own party. At this time, twenty-three states have decided to expand Medicaid, nineteen have decided to reject the expansion, and eight are still debating the issue. The Washington Post details the intra-party feud at http://tinyurl.com/lgjtlqs.  

“Expanding Medicaid will provide vital health insurance for millions of Americans, including many retirees,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Regardless of party affiliation, lawmakers should not play games with their citizens’ health.”

Human Chain Events against the Chained CPI Take Shape for July 2

New events are being added regularly to the Alliance’s July 2 Human Chain Event web page. On that date, activists around the country will form a “Human Chain against the Chained CPI” in front of key Congressional offices and Federal Buildings. It is a National Day of Action for the Alliance and its partners to stop the chained CPI: a formula change that would cut Social Security benefits by $6,000 over 15 years for a 65-year-old who retired in 2011. Thirty-eight events across the country are posted at http://tinyurl.com/pd8pbsz, and more events and details will be added next week.

Alliance Takes over LCAO Stewardship

On Wednesday, the Alliance took over the gavel for a year of heading up the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO), succeeding the National Council on Aging (NCOA). LCAO is a coalition comprised of 68 of the nation’s diverse non-profit organizations that serve older Americans. It is dedicated to preserving and strengthening the well-being of America’s older population, and provides a loud voice for seniors and their families in the ongoing national debate on aging policy.

North Carolina, Florida, and Indiana Alliance Chapters Hold Their Conventions

National Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling swore in the elected officers, and North Carolina State AFL-CIO President James Andrews spoke at the North Carolina Alliance convention in Durham on Tuesday. State President Jim Moore and the entire state leadership were elected for another 2-year term. The theme of the convention this year was the creation of new activists. To view photographs from the convention, go to http://tinyurl.com/kdxky55.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, the Florida Alliance held its annual convention in Orlando. Tony Fransetta was re-elected as President and Richard Fiesta, Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the national Alliance, represented the DC office. They were joined by many State House and Senate members and other distinguished guests. A highlight of the conference: sending get-well cards to three state legislators who voted not to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid. The cards wished “a speedy recovery from whatever affliction that has caused you to turn your backs on Florida's working families, businesses and hospitals.” To read more, go to http://tinyurl.com/mn5emax.

On May 29 in Indianapolis, 125 delegates attended as Elmer Blankenship was re-elected President of the Indiana Alliance. Ms. Easterling was a speaker at the convention and declared, “Call us old school, but we believe that the promises made through Social Security and private pensions must be honored in full.  We believe that Medicare should take care better care of seniors’ health than CEOs’ wealth.  We believe in sacrifice when times get tough, but also that we should not ask those with the least to sacrifice the most.” Other guests included Rep. André Carson (D-IN), who has a lifetime 100% voting record with the Alliance; UAW regional director Ken Lortz; Warren Danford, the UAW’s retiree director and a member of the national Alliance’s Executive Board; and Tim Foley, who serves on both the Alliance’s Executive Board and also the Regional Board.

Alliance Remembers Senator Frank Lautenberg

This Monday, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) passed away at the age of 89. Lautenberg, a five- term senator who was first elected in 1982, was the oldest member of the Senate and the last remaining WWII veteran. According to the Alliance’s 2012 Congressional Voting Record, Lautenberg received a high lifetime score of 93%, illustrating his commitment throughout his career to issues important to seniors. He was a vocal opponent of attempts to weaken Medicare and Social Security, including the Ryan Budget and chained CPI.

“The Alliance would like to thank Senator Lautenberg for his many years of advocacy on behalf of seniors and all Americans,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “His voice will be sorely missed.”

Gov. Christie appointed New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa on Thursday to fill the Senate seat left unfilled by Sen. Lautenberg’s death, opening the field for a special election on October 16. Mr. Chiesa, a fellow Republican and close friend to Mr. Christie, won't run in that election.

Did You Know…
More than half of retirees above the median U.S. income cite pensions as a major source of funding, double the percentage for lower-income retirees. Seven in 10 lower-income retirees cite Social Security as a major source of funds (Source: Gallup).

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