Fox-Led Anti-Medicaid Campaign Leaves 5.7 Million Uninsured

The Fox-led campaign to pressure GOP governors to decline the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion has left 5.7 million people uninsured who could have gained coverage under the law. 

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states could decide whether to expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults living below 133 percent of the federal poverty line, under a provision of the ACA which would provide federal funding for the expansion.

Immediately following the ruling, Fox News began a campaign to convince Republican governors to turn down the funding and refuse to expand the program. On July 2, 2012, Fox & Friends praised Florida governor Rick Scott for turning down Medicaid expansion. The same day, then-Fox News contributor Sarah Palin appeared on On the Record and said she “would like to see governors be tough and opt out” of the expansion":

PALIN: Many, many states are not going to be able to afford expansion of Medicaid and these exchanges that are going to try to be forced down states' throats through “ObamaCare.” I would like to see governors be tough and opt out of this and exert our 10th Amendment rights and tell President Obama, who does not understand the Constitution -- he even being a constitutional lecturer and supposed scholar in our Constitution, not understanding and probably never reading or absorbing the 10th Amendment to understand that states have rights.

Fox continued to demagogue the program long after the Supreme Court's decision, misleading on its costs, falsely claiming it would bankrupt states, and ultimately blaming the ACA for the coverage gap that resulted from the very expansion refusal it advocated.

The decision not to expand Medicaid is not without consequences. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 19 states are not moving forward with expansion, while five more are engaging in debate, but have not made a decision. Today, the White House revealed the human costs of the campaign to demonize Medicaid: (emphasis added)

The White House, in a map showing Medicaid expansion decisions to date, said that 4.3 million people are newly eligible for Medicaid coverage in states that expanded. The White House said nonexpansion states are leaving 5.7 million people without Medicaid coverage they could obtain if their states had decided otherwise.

Because of the way Obamacare subsidies are allocated, and because of the Supreme Court decision that left Medicaid expansion up to individual states, those 5.7 million people also are ineligible to receive tax credits to help them buy private Obamacare insurance from the exchanges.

Sebelius said expansion not only gets health coverage to more people “it's a good deal for the states.”