The Battle Over the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion Rages On

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Across the country, states such as Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky have expanded their Medicaid coverage in order to better assist low-income citizens. However, in states like Virginia, right across the border, there are over 400,000 low-income citizens who can’t afford health coverage but don’t qualify for Medicaid or government assisted health insurance. Despite Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s attempts to expand Medicaid, Republicans have fought this every step of the way with hopes of causing the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) to fail and simply vanish.

In North Carolina, the battle between Democrats and Republicans over the ACA has been a hostile issue. North Carolina is one of 24 states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, even though the federal government would pay all of the costs for new enrollees over the first three years and no less than 90 percent of their costs thereafter. The current Democratic Senator of North Carolina, Kay Hagan, believes that her desire to expand Medicaid in North Carolina is the key difference between her and Thom Tillis, the Republican state House Speaker who wishes to unseat her in November.

In addition to trying to help low-income citizens, the ACA also encourages health insurance companies to provide seniors with health insurance plans consisting of higher quality coverage. Currently, more than half of seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans hold coverage policies that are ranked four out of five stars, a relatively new ranking system that was created under the health law to help assist senior citizens in finding more cost-effective and higher quality benefits.

“The Affordable Care Act helps strengthen Medicare Advantage by providing improved benefits and keeping costs low for Medicare beneficiaries,” said the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in a statement to Forbes. Whether or not Republicans and Democrats will ever come together on the matter is yet to be seen, but if the past is any indication, this union will be a difficult one to achieve.

By: Trent Chamberlain

Sources: nytimes.com, forebes.com, kansascity.com