Medicaid expansion good for state budgets

On June 30, 2020, Oklahoma voters approved an amendment to the state constitution expanding Medicaid health coverage for an estimated 200,000 additional low-income residents.

Medicaid expansion does increase state spending, but the cost is covered by the federal revenue provided through the program, said Benjamin Sommers, professor of health policy and economics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a June 30 interview on Tulsa Public Radio. He is the co-author of a recent perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine making the case for Medicaid expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Said Sommers, “States were not spending any more of their own state revenue based on the Medicaid expansion. One of the fears of states that are considering expansion is, well, if we do this, we’re gonna run out of money for our schools or for transportation and other sorts of infrastructure. We see no evidence that states that expanded Medicaid had to cut back in those areas.”

Read the Tulsa Public Radio article: The Economic Benefits and Perils of Adopting Medicaid Expansion