4 populous states that have yet to expand Medicaid

Although Michigan recently passed legislation to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, several populous states in the Midwest and elsewhere have yet to do so.

The most prominent of the Rust Belt states that have yet to decide on expanding Medicaid is Ohio. The dynamics are similar to Michigan, in that its governor, John Kasich, supports expansion but needs to rally a majority of lawmakers to his side.

However, the Toledo Blade has reported that Ohio lawmakers will likely not get a bill to Kasich before October, which is considered the latest date to expand Medicaid by 2014. At risk is $13 billion in federal funding for the remainder of the decade that would expand the program to cover an additional 275,000 Ohioans.

"Are we going to allow $13 billion in federal monies to leave Ohio and go to Michigan?" Terry Russell, state executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, told the Blade. "As a Buckeye and an Ohioan, I can't bear the thought."

Medicaid expansion is not going to happen in Missouri for the time being. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, supports expansion, but the GOP-controlled Legislature has been staunchly against it.

As a result, the state's poorest residents fall into a coverage gap, not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid under current guidelines but too poor to qualify for subsidized coverage in the state's insurance exchange. According to Kaiser Health News, that is more than 226,000 Missourians out of the state's nearly 900,000 uninsured.

In Texas, another state that is not going to expand Medicaid, 26 percent of its residents lack insurance, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Florida is close behind, with a quarter of its population under the age of 65 uninsured, reported Kaiser Health News. Like Ohio, Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott, supports Medicaid expansion but has encountered resistance from lawmakers.

To learn more:
- read the Toledo Blade article
- here's the Kaiser Health News article on Missouri and Medicaid
- check out the Austin American-Statesman article (subscription required)
- read the Kaiser Health News article on Florida

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