NAPH Concerned by Decisions to Reject Medicaid Expansion
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2012—The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) has issued the following statement by Bruce Siegel, M.D., MPH, president and CEO. “We are deeply concerned that some states already have rejected Medicaid expansion and others might follow suit. About 4 million people who would have been eligible for Medicaid could go uninsured in states that have decided against expansion, and as many as 13.8 million are at risk.
“The consequences of leaving so many people uninsured can profoundly harm entire communities and impact even those with insurance. Especially alarming is the suggestion that expanding Medicaid coverage would leave the newly covered worse off—a badly misguided and potentially dangerous premise.
“Evidence strongly suggests that gaining insurance coverage improves health outcomes and quality of life. Just this month, results of a randomized study in Oregon showed that obtaining Medicaid coverage made people healthier. In 2009, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) said adults without health insurance are more likely to be diagnosed with later stage cancers and die from trauma or other serious acute conditions, such as heart attacks or strokes. Children have less access to preventive services—immunizations, medicine, and dental care, for example—and more often suffer unmet health care needs, avoidable hospitalizations, and missed school days.
“The IOM also found that higher numbers of uninsured can reduce the availability and quality of local health care services for everyone, including those with insurance, and can hurt a community’s ability to attract providers and capital investment necessary to improve care for all patients.
“Simply put, coverage matters. We implore state leaders to consider the severe consequences their populations will face if they choose not to expand Medicaid and to renounce the idea that no insurance is a preferred and viable option.”