Report: States will expand Medicaid if Obama wins second term

Health insurers should be closely watching the presidential election as the outcome could directly impact their ability to gain additional members through the reform law's Medicare expansion provision.

If President Barack Obama is re-elected, most states will expand their Medicaid programs under the health law, according to a new report from consulting firm Leavitt Partners.

Former U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said in the report, which was commissioned by Idaho, that a second Obama administration would work to entice states into expanding the healthcare program, reported Kaiser Health News.

"If President Obama is re-elected, Leavitt Partners believes the administration will do everything in its power to incentivize states to opt in to the full Medicaid expansion, offering program flexibility as needed," the report states.

Despite their prediction, however, the consultants recommend state officials wait until after the election to make a decision on Medicaid expansion because "it is almost certain" that the Obama administration won't release detailed guidance until after the election.

Alternatively, if Gov. Mitt Romney wins, Leavitt Partners predicts the reform law's Medicaid expansion provision will be repealed. "Under this scenario, the expansion will no longer be an attractive option for most states," the report found.

To learn more:
- here's the Leavitt Partners report (.pdf)
- read the Kaiser Health News article

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