John Oliver explains why Medicaid expansion is a big issue

John Oliver explains why Medicaid expansion is a big issue
November 02 01:00 2015

John Oliver explains why Medicaid expansion is a big issue

If you’ve been hearing about Medicaid expansion on the periphery of this year’s Louisiana’s gubernatorial campaign and the 2016 presidential election, there’s a big reason for it: Health care is getting expensive for state governments.

And in the 20 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid — Louisiana and most other Southern states are part of that group — there’s increasing pressure to take the federal dollars that Medicaid advocates say will help lower costs.

But that doesn’t make the issue any less confusing. Medicaid involves a tangle of regulations. And what makes someone eligible for insurance in the massive health care program changes from state to state.

In states that don’t have Medicaid expansion, it’s mostly the working poor who earn too much but can’t afford to buy health insurance who are most affected.

If you’re looking for a way to untangle some of the issues — albeit with a left-leaning point of view — John Oliver on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday (Nov. 1) aired a segment that explains many of the thorniest problems states are facing. He leads with the importance of four state elections Tuesday (Nov. 2) — Louisiana isn’t mentioned because voters don’t go to the polls until Nov. 21 — and points out that Medicaid expansion will be a key issue in those places in the coming year.

But it’s Oliver’s explanation of the political divide over Medicaid expansion and its effect on the working poor that’s most notable. Although Oliver glosses over some of the looming financial issues some states will face when states are required to pay 10 percent of the federal share in 2020 due to unexpectedly large enrollment, he puts into simple terms how the battle over Medicaid expansion has played out…

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