Elect Democrats and good things happen…like this (press release from The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis):
Medicaid Expansion Drops Uninsured Rate to 7.9% in Virginia in 2019
Newly released ACS Census data indicates decline in uninsured rate, first to document impact of Medicaid expansion
RICHMOND, VA — Virginia’s uninsured rate dropped 0.9 percentage points to a historic low of 7.9% in 2019, according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. This data release is the first to capture uninsured rates in the state since Medicaid expansion became effective. Virginia was one of only two states that implemented Medicaid expansion in early 2019 and is also the only state in the country that saw a significant decrease in the share of residents who were uninsured.
“This drop in the number of uninsured people in Virginia is the direct result of the decision to expand Medicaid and reject rigid work requirement proposals. Nearly 457,000 adults currently have health coverage in Virginia due to Medicaid expansion,” says Ashley C. Kenneth, Senior Vice President for Policy and Legislative Affairs at The Commonwealth Institute.
Still, with 658,000 people remaining uninsured for 2019, prior to the impact of the pandemic on employment, there is more work to be done to ensure all Virginia families have access to quality and affordable health coverage.
“The good news is that the decision to expand Medicaid better positions the state to meet the needs of people with reduced or complete loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Freddy Mejia, Health Policy Analyst at the Institute. “We can build on this progress by removing what is known as the 40-quarter rule, which can act as a barrier to coverage for lawfully present immigrants. Virginia’s Medicaid program can be strengthened by extending health coverage from 60 days to a full year postpartum for new mothers and introducing services such as a home visiting program and adult dental benefits.”
Improving participation in Virginia’s individual marketplace will also be key to continued reduction in uninsured rates. Targeted enrollment efforts and lowering out-of-pocket costs for people who do not access health coverage through an employer or a public program will be critical to improving these numbers.
“We applaud recent decisions to strengthen Virginia’s individual marketplace, such as transitioning to a state-based exchange and vetoing efforts to expand Association Health Plans, which benefit select groups at the detriment of the many,” said Michael Cassidy, President and CEO of the Institute. “Further steps to lower health coverage costs, such as implementing a state reinsurance program, will play a key role to help more people in Virginia afford quality health coverage for themselves and their families.”
About The Commonwealth Institute
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis provides credible, independent, and accessible information and analyses of fiscal and economic issues with particular attention to the impacts on low- and moderate-income persons. Our products inform fiscal and budget policy debates and contribute to sound decisions that improve the well-being of individuals, communities and Virginia as a whole.
Visit www.thecommonwealthinstitute.org for more information.