FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christina Clem, (916) 471-8655
December 21, 2012
AARP Urges Governor Brown to Expand Medicaid Coverage Under ACA
Expansion Would Save Taxpayer Dollars and Provide Access to Health Coverage for 2.8 Million Californians
[ SACRAMENTO, CA] – AARP expressed alarm over the recent suggestion by Governor Brown that California may decline the Medi-Cal expansion available under federal law in order to save up to $4 billion.
The ACA provides states with the option, with federal funding, to expand Medi-Cal coverage up to 138% of the federal poverty level – a move that would provide access to affordable health care coverage to 2.8 million uninsured Californians, over 395,000 of whom are between the ages of 50 and 64.
“Expanding Medicaid will provide coverage for hardworking people who’ve paid taxes all their lives but are now struggling to make ends meet,” said Katie Hirning, State Director for AARP in California. “This is critical for 50-64 year olds who’ve lost their jobs or are struggling in jobs without health insurance but don’t currently qualify for Medi-Cal health coverage or Medicare.”
We all know that California faces serious fiscal challenges, but the time for expansion is now. The Affordable Care Act provides a one-time opportunity for California to receive a 100% federal funding as opposed to the 50% match the state currently receives.
According to a 2012 report by the Urban Institute, 42% of the uninsured population in California would have access to Medi-Cal health care coverage under the expansion – $18 billion of uncompensated care that increases the cost of health insurance paid by Californians.
“Medi-Cal expansion would save taxpayer dollars by giving people without insurance access to preventative care that can save lives, reduce the need for expensive emergency room care and ease emergency room overcrowding,” added Hirning. “Expanding Medi-Cal is a smart investment in our future. Medicare spending and mortality risks are higher for those without continuous health coverage after age 50. Expanding Medi-Cal can help save future costs to the Medicare program by addressing costs system-wide through prevention and wellness.”
For more information about the ACA and Medicaid expansion, visit www.aarp.org/heathlawguide