Should states expand the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act?

Lyndon Johnson

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. One of the main purposes of the law was to provide affordable health insurance coverage to most of the 46 million people who were uninsured at the time. The Congressional Budget Office predicted in 2010 that by 2021 about 34 million people would gain health insurance as a result of the new law. About half of those people, roughly 17 million, were people slated to gain coverage under Medicaid.

Medicaid is a federal-state cooperative program that is designed to provide health insurance to people living at or below the federal poverty level (FPL). The ACA expanded Medicaid to people making up to 133 percent of the FPL. This means individuals making as much as $16,105 per year, up to families of four with a total income of $32,913 are eligible. This expansion of Medicaid by each state was mandatory until this portion of the law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. The option to expand or not was left to the states.

Learn about the positions of Democratic and Republican officeholders at the state and federal levels by watching C-SPAN videos, reading related articles, and using our lesson plan on the issues surrounding the Medicaid expansion. Then participate in a “Deliberation” in your classroom regarding the possible actions states will take.



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