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Medicaid Expansion – The Sticky-Wicket in Supreme Court ACA Ruling

The United States Supreme Court recently upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, in a 5-4 vote, including the controversial mandate that requires individuals to purchase health insurance beginning in 2014. In its ruling, the court contended that the law is constitutional and that the mandate is a tax and not a penalty.Medicaid expansion is one of the many provisions of the ACA that is a sticky-wicket of sorts. The court sustained Medicaid expansion making it optional for states. The court ruled that if a state chooses not to participate in the expansion to the newly eligible population Congress may only withhold funding from the new category of individuals that would qualify for Medicaid under the parameters of the ACA. The federal government can offer states money for the expansion. It can refuse them extra money if they deny the expansion, but they cannot take back the existing funding if they don’t obey the new rules.

Those who oppose Medicaid expansion have argued that the provision places an undue burden on states as it diminishes their autonomy. However, states that do not expand Medicaid may have to deal with a continued barrage of low-income, uninsured patients into emergency departments, further driving up healthcare costs in the form of uncompensated care for hospitals.

Josh Levs, CNN.com, highlights what this ruling means for a number of concerned groups including the uninsured, the insured, young adults, people with pre-existing conditions, American tax payers, doctors and other health care providers and more. Click here to read the entire article.

The ACA won’t solve the multiple challenges that face our health care system in this country, but at least it’s a start.

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