Billions and Billions Wasted


Conservative States Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Are Sacrificing Billions of Dollars And Leaving Millions Uninsured

The fight over Medicaid expansion continues, with 24 conservative states still refusing to expand health care to low-income working residents simply because of politics. As we have documented before, these political games have real consequences: Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old working mom with three small children, died in late March because she fell into Florida’s Medicaid coverage gap and wasn’t able to access the care she needed.

A new report from the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation details the scope of these consequences in the number of people going without insurance and the economic losses to states. Both of these outcomes are the result of conservative lawmakers’ decision to reject federal funds to expand health care in their states. Here are the key findings, by the numbers:

  • 6.7 million: The number of residents that would have been eligible for affordable coverage projected to remain uninsured in the 24 states that have not expanded Medicaid.
  • $423.6 billion: The amount of money that states are sacrificing in federal Medicaid funds from 2013-2022. These are billions that would not only go to help make sure people have the health care that they need, they would also heighten economic activity and spur job growth in the states.
  • $167.8 billion: Amount of money from additional Medicaid funding that hospitals in these 24 states are projected to lose. This funding was intended to offset cuts the Affordable Care Act made to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates: more people covered could mean lower rates. But without the bigger pool of insured residents through Medicaid expansion, hospitals lose out big time. Some hospitals, especially in rural areas, are even being forced to shutter their doors.
  • 32.3 percent: The increase in Medicaid payments that hospitals in non-expansion states would see in 2016 if these states decided to go ahead with Medicaid expansion.
  • $13.41: The amount of federal funds, for every $1 the state invests, that would flow into these 24 states if they chose to go forward with Medicaid expansion. The study projects that states would have to pay a combined $31.6 billion and receive $423.6 billion from the federal government. The report also mentions that even these costs to the state would be offset: “Every comprehensive state-level budget analysis of which we know found that expansion helps state budgets, because it generates state savings and additional revenues that exceed increased Medicaid costs.”
  • 38 percent: How much the uninsured rate has dropped in states that have expanded Medicaid since September 2013, from 16.2 to 10.1 percent.
  • 9 percent: How much the uninsured rate has dropped in states that have refused to expand Medicaid since September 2013, from 20.0 to 18.3 percent.

BOTTOM LINE: The latest analysis underscores why conservative lawmakers need to put people over politics and expand Medicaid in their states. By denying health care to low-income working people, they are only hurting their citizens and their state economies.

An Update on the Iraq Crisis

President Obama gave an update Saturday morning about the situation in Iraq, detailing the progress of current American operations in the country:

First, American forces have conducted targeted airstrikes against terrorist forces outside the city of Erbil to prevent them from advancing on the city and to protect our American diplomats and military personnel. So far, these strikes have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that ISIL terrorists could have used against Erbil. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend the city, and the United States and the Iraqi government have stepped up our military assistance to Kurdish forces as they wage their fight.

Second, our humanitarian effort continues to help the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar. American forces have so far conducted two successful airdrops — delivering thousands of meals and gallons of water to these desperate men, women and children. And American aircraft are positioned to strike ISIL terrorists around the mountain to help forces in Iraq break the siege and rescue those who are trapped there.

“Ultimately, only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq,” the President said. “The United States can’t do it for them, but we can and will be partners in that effort.”

Watch President Obama’s full statement here:

President Obama makes a statement on the crisis in Iraq.

Airstrikes in Iraq: What You Need to Know

The President takes no decision more seriously than the use of military force. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to make sure you understand exactly what is happening in Iraq right now, who is involved, and why we are taking action.


Summer Mailbag: Ask the White House Your Questions

It’s that time of year again! We’re bringing back the Summer Mailbag edition of West Wing Week. If you’ve got a question about President Obama’s policies, what it’s like to work at the White House, or really anything you’ve been meaning to ask about his day-to-day life or his Administration, we want to hear from you.


Delivering a Customer-Focused Government Through Smarter IT

Today, the Administration is formally launching the U.S. Digital Service — a small team made up of our country’s brightest digital talent that will work with agencies to remove barriers to exceptional service delivery and help remake the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government.


Pebble Mine

You have the power to help us stop the Pebble Mine now.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed restrictions that would limit development of the Pebble ore deposit in Alaska. This is a tremendously good move by the EPA to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay, home to abundant wildlife and world-class salmon runs, including the world’s largest sockeye fishery.

The proposal is not yet finalized, however. The EPA is currently accepting public comments and needs to hear from you today.

If approved, the Pebble Mine would be the largest, most destructive open-pit mine ever built in North America. Over its lifetime, the mine could generate 23 billion tons of dangerous mining waste, wiping out over 90 miles of salmon streams and more than 5,000 acres of intertwined wetlands, ponds and lakes. The EPA’s proposed restrictions would effectively prohibit such large-scale destruction.

The Pebble Limited Partnership, which owns the mining rights, has filed a lawsuit asking the court to halt the EPA’s public process immediately. That’s right: the mining company is terrified to let your voice to be heard.

Earthjustice legal experts are asking the court to throw out this case and let the EPA do its job. We’ve been fighting for decades to protect Alaskan wilderness, and we stand ready to fight once again.

We need your urgent help now to make sure the Obama administration follows through and puts an end to this devastating project.


Tom Waldo
Staff Attorney
Alaska Office

What was written on Kristin’s locker

 “I can still feel the lurch in my stomach that I experienced every day when I saw ‘dyke’ scrawled across my locker.” – Kristin
Over 50% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people say they have experienced verbal harassment, including the use of anti-gay slurs. Kristin was one of them.

Kristin asked us to share her story with you so that other LGBT teens don’t have to go through what she did.