Thousands Will Die In States That Reject Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

Thanks to the 24 Republican-controlled states that rejected Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, roughly 8 million low-income Americans will go without health insurance. That’s been known for some time. It’s been unclear, however, how many deaths will result from that lack of coverage — until now. A new analysis released Thursday estimates that, thanks to Republican governors’ decisions to forego federal Medicaid dollars, between 7,115 and 17,104 people will die for lack of insurance, including as many as 3,035 in Texas alone. So, that’s horrible.

But it gets worse, especially for low-income women. In opt-out states, women age 50 to 64 will receive 195,492 fewer mammograms, while women between 21 and 64 will have 443,677 fewer pap smears than they would have with the expansion. Had Republicans in opt-out states accepted the Medicaid expansion, around 3.1 million additional women who should be getting regular pap smears would have been able to under Medicaid plans. As it is, they’ll remain uninsured.

The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, in the states that have implemented it, allows anybody earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in the program. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of insuring the new enrollees for the first three years, and 90 percent thereafter. However, thanks to the 2012 Supreme Court ruling, states can opt-out of the Medicaid expansion if their governors or state legislators choose to do so.

This most recent analysis used data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Census Bureau, the Congressional Budget Office, three separate studies on the Medicaid expansion, and a variety of other sources.