Skip to main content

Medicaid Expansion Gains Steam in 3 of 4 States Considering It

News  |  By Steven Porter  
   May 30, 2018

Virginia seems poised to pass the measure, while Utah and Idaho gear up for votes. Don't count Nebraska out just yet.

Three of the four initiatives currently underway to expand Medicaid coverage have shown recent signs of progress, and the fourth still has time to pull through.

If the push for expansion proves successful in all four states, more than 600,000 people could be added to the jointly funded state-federal program.

Furthermore, if all four initiatives succeed, that would leave just 14 states having declined to expand Medicaid as authorized by the Affordable Care Act, according to a tally compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Here's an overview of where the four initiatives stand:

Virginia: Add to hospital taxes?

  • State senators are expected to consider a package of proposed budget amendments Wednesday that includes Medicaid expansion, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The expansion would be funded by billions of dollars in funding from the federal government and two new taxes on hospital revenues.
  • Expansion in the state could add more than 300,000 residents to the Medicaid program, as the Times-Dispatch reported.

Utah: To the ballot box.

  • The state's top election official, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, announced Tuesday that a push to expand Medicaid secured enough petition signatures to qualify as a ballot initiative during the election this fall, as The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
  • Expanding the program in Utah could add 150,000 people to Medicaid, as the Tribune reported.

Idaho: To the ballot box?

  • A proposed ballot initiative in Idaho appears to have secured enough signatures to qualify, but supporters are still waiting for official word, as Public News Service reported.
  • Expansion would add about 62,000 Idahoans to the Medicaid program, as PNS reported.

Nebraska: Don't count us out.

  • Proponents of expansion in Nebraska have until July to gather enough signatures for a ballot initiative of their own, as The World-Herald reported. The measure could affect about 90,000 potential beneficiaries in the state.
  • Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, has opposed the initiative in no uncertain terms: "Expanding Medicaid in Nebraska is a risky proposition for taxpayers not only because of the expense but also because we cannot trust the Federal Government’s long-term financial commitment to state programs."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated the number of states that would be left having not expanded Medicaid if the four initiatives described above all succeed.

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Tagged Under:

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.