Countdown to Care: Winners and Losers

AZ-Gov Brewer with Volunteers
AARP volunteers Leonard Kirschner, Sigrid Whitman and Virginia Brandt with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at the Medicaid expansion signing ceremony.

In the mad rush to pass budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the health care of hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans is at stake - and time is running out.  As I write, only about half of the states have agreed to expand Medicaid, which will extend health coverage to residents who earn about $15,000 a year or less.  The closer we come to July 1, the greater the wins and harder the losses:

Key Winners:

  • 300,000 hard-working Arizonans will now have access to health care through the state's AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) program.  Just last week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer won approval for her Medicaid Restoration effort.  AARP Arizona praised the governor and the coalition of bipartisan legislators who voted in favor of restoring Medicaid, saying, "With the expansion of Arizona's AHCCCS program, these Arizonans will now be able to get the care they need, it will keep our rural hospitals open and also avoid overcrowding in our hospital emergency rooms."
  • Millions of low-income Californians will have access to the health coverage they need, including 395,000 50 to 64-year-olds.  Lawmakers in California wrapped up their budget prior to a June 15 deadline, and sent it to Gov. Jerry Brown with expansion of the state's Medi-Cal program.  AARP California commended state leaders, saying, "This landmark legislation will provide millions of low-income Californians with the health coverage they need.  It will help 50 to 64-year-olds who have lost their jobs, are struggling to find new ones and can't get affordable health care."
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie included Medicaid expansion in his budget, and the state legislature included it in the version they passed this week.  Nearly 270,000 New Jersey residents will now be eligible to receive health coverage.


The tough political environment surrounding health care reform has hampered Medicaid expansion in some states as they wrap up their budgets.

The Losers:

  •  Lawmakers in 16 states have said they will not expand Medicaid, meaning more than 6 million Americans who would be eligible for health coverage cannot get it.  Those states are:  Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


Undecided include:

  • 400,000 hard-working men and women of Michigan are counting on Gov. Rick Snyder and the state legislature.  The Michigan State Senate adjourned without voting on a Medicaid expansion bill that passed the House earlier in June.  Gov. Snyder called on the Senate to "take a vote, not a vacation."
  • 500,000 Ohioans are waiting to see if the state legislature will pass Medicaid expansion.  Ohio Gov. John Kasich strongly supports extending health coverage to residents who make about $15,000 a year or less.
  • While Gov. Tom Corbett initially opposed Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, his administration has been holding talks with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  AARP Pennsylvania has urged the state legislature to support Medicaid expansion.  Nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians could be eligible for health care under Medicaid expansion.


To stay up-to-date on our Medicaid expansion campaign, sign up for the AARP Advocate newsletter or visit your state web page.  We'll be reporting more on those Undecided states in the weeks and months to come!




Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.