Expanded Medicaid Makes Economic Sense

While Gov. Fallin says that expanding Medicaid in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be too expensive, a new study released this month shows that expanding Medicaid pays off in unexpected ways. Researchers at Yale University studied children who had received expanded Medicaid benefits in the 1980s and 90s. Not only did the children enjoy better health as adults, they also contributed more to the U.S. tax system and were more likely to attend college.

It makes sense that people who have access to health care will be better able to attend school, complete an education, find good jobs and contribute to society.

“Although it will take years to know the long-term impact of current expansions of Medicaid undertaken as part of the Affordable Care Act, this study shows that the investments that the government made in Medicaid in the 1980s and 1990s are paying off in the form of higher tax payments now,” said Yale University economist Amanda Kowalski, one of the study’s co-authors.

According to healthcare.gov, states that offer expanded Medicaid under the ACA provide free or low-cost health coverage to low-income individuals “regardless of disability, family status, financial resources, and other factors that are usually taken into account in Medicaid eligibility decisions.”

The site also says, “If you live in a state that hasn’t expanded its Medicaid program and you have limited income, you may not have many options for health coverage.”

This study shows that investing in healthcare pays off for our children and future generations. Oklahoma is being short sighted by not accepting expanded Medicaid. It appears that the economic health of a state is only as healthy as its citizens.

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Living the empty nest life, and loving it.

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Betty Casey has been editor of TulsaKids for over 20 years – her youngest child was 3-years-old when she started working for the magazine. She and her husband Wes have three young adult children. Betty’s blog ranges from writing about current issues or information of interest to local parents, reflecting on her life without kids at home, and posting a few recipes now and then. (Cooking and running are two or her favorite past-times.) Betty is the author/illustrator of three children’s books, "May Finds Her Way," "That is a Hat" and "The Prince of the Prairie" (The RoadRunner Press). She was named Blogger of the Year in 2014 by The Great Plains Journalism Awards, was a finalist in 2015 and won again in 2016. Most recently, she was named the 2017 News Blogger of the Year. She has also won numerous writing awards from the Parenting Media Association.

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