Healthcare Update: Sebelius: Most States will Participate in Medicaid Expansion; New Funding Made Available for Health Insurance Exchanges


    In a speech on July 11, Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius expressed confidence that most states will participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program provided for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). On June 28, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the expansion, provided that states are not compelled to accept it. Opting out of the expansion will not cause states to lose their current federal Medicaid funds.

    Under the terms of the expansion, approximately 16 million new enrollees with income of up to 133% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Although most of the funding for the expansion will be provided by the federal government, states will be required to contribute a portion of the amounts necessary. For example, Texas would be eligible for $100 billion in federal aid to pay for expanded Medicaid benefits for its citizens over the next 10 years, but the state would have to provide $15-16 billion of its own. Governor Rick Perry said that Texas would decline the federal funds. The governors of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina have also announced that their states will not participate in the expansion.

    Sebelius spoke at a symposium on the Supreme Court’s decision, sponsored by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. She stated that the federal funding is “a deal states won’t want to turn down.”

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