One of the three key items that need to be resolved this year is the Medicaid expansion that is part of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare. (The other two are the overall budget and education funding increase as a result of the McCleary decision.) The policy choices are getting clearer and clearer as we go through the session, and the support has become more substantial as the numbers work themselves out.
- We will be able to provide coverage for almost 350,000 additional people in Washington.
- The federal government will pick up the tab, covering 100% of the cost of the newly eligible.
- The expansion will save the state money, with around $250 million in savings in the first two years.
- The benefits are spread throughout the state, with the biggest impacts in rural counties with high poverty rates.
- The expansion will generate about 10,000 new jobs in Washington, and bring lots of new cash into the state from Washington DC, instead of the other way around as it usually works.