What Medicaid Expansion Means For Maryland Health Care | WYPR

What Medicaid Expansion Means For Maryland Health Care

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On January 1st, Medicaid will start covering more low-income Marylanders. How will the expansion shape health care for Maryland's poor? Sheilah talks with Kevin Lindamood, President and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit Health Care for the Homeless.

Maryland officials have said they expect about 150,000 Marylanders to buy insurance on the state’s new health insurance exchange over the next year. The exchange is called the Maryland Health Connection, created as part of the Affordable Care Act.

There’s another way that many Marylanders are expected to get insurance this year. That’s through the expansion of Medicaid. Right now, more than one million Marylanders, about one out of six, are on Medicaid. That number will increase by at least 80,000 over the next year.

Marc Kilmer who follows health issues for the Maryland Public Policy Institute is worried about what the Medicaid expansion will cost the state. Right now, the state splits the cost of Medicaid with the federal government. Under the expansion, the feds will pay 100-percent of the cost of those newly eligible for Medicaid; Maryland will eventually contribute 10-percent of that cost. But, Maryland will still have to pay half the cost of anyone currently on Medicaid: "Taxpayers are going to be squeezed in the future and other government priorities such as higher education and elementary and secondary education and public safety are going to feel the squeeze because of growing Medicaid expansion."

Sheilah spoke recently with, Kevin Lindamood, President and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit, Health Care for the Homeless. He’s an advocate for Medicaid expansion. He talked about what it means for Maryland, as well as the issue of cost.

Produced by Matt Purdy.

Our series ‘The Checkup:  How Health Care Is Changing in Maryland’ is made possible by grants from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Baltimore Association of Health Underwriters, and HealthCare Access Maryland.