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The Suburbanite
  • Court ruling clears the road for Medicaid expansion

  • U.S. Supreme Court rules constitutional the Affordable Care Act, questioning only the law’s expansion of Medicaid.

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  • In line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, a Medicaid expansion will make all low-income citizens eligible for health care. The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
    Previously, eligibility for Medicaid was limited to low-income elderly and the disabled. Eligibility guidelines now include a family of four earning less than $29,000 annually.
    The court voiced concerns about the Medicaid expansion but agreed the action can go forward with the federal government paying 100 percent of the cost of newly eligible enrollees between 2014 and 2016. Federal support will be reduced in later years. In 2019, for example, federal support will stand at 90 percent.
    Chief Justice John Roberts  explained support for the Medicaid expansion would be assured as long as there are no threats to withhold individual states’ Medicaid allotments should they choose not to participate in the expansion.
    Today, some 62 million Americans are covered by Medicaid. The expansion of eligibility will cover an additional 17 million people.  
    Locally, Matt Reed, Area Agency on Aging vice president of communications, said, “We are anticipating we’re going to get in an in-depth summary from our National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. At the national and state level, we have people looking at this.”