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AZ Hospitals See Benefits of Medicaid Expansion

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 16, 2014

Year-to-date operating margins have improved from $140 million in 2013 to $184 million in 2014, an Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association survey finds. And there's been no mad rush to emergency departments, as many had predicted.

For the most part I try to avoid writing about the politics of healthcare in this column. Frankly, there are plenty enough sources to cover that angle, and talking about the partisan aspects of "Obamacare" tends to bring out extremists on both sides of the issue, with everyone intent on generating more heat than light.

It's hard to stay apolitical, however, when it comes to the Medicaid expansion. That's because it was partisan politics by some governors and legislators in some states to reject the additional hundreds of millions in federal dollars that would cover health insurance costs for millions of people who could not afford it otherwise.

Because most states have seen the no-brainer wisdom of accepting Medicaid expansion and embracing health insurance exchanges, the percentage of uninsured people in the United States continues to hit record lows.

The excuse in those states that have rejected the expansion is that they cannot afford to take up the new entitlement once the federal government begins to scale back on its share of the funding.

On its face that's a specious argument and reeks of political cover.

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