State advocates have a critical role to play in the two fights looming over Medicaid - protecting existing Medicaid coverage against devastating budget cuts, and ensuring the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Medicaid expansion.
The recession has worn on state budgets for nearly five years, and states continue to face budget shortfalls in fiscal year 2013, placing extraordinary pressure on state policymakers to cut public spending and close budget gaps. As a result, many states are considering harmful Medicaid cuts: eliminating coverage, restricting critical benefits, and imposing premiums on those who can't afford them.
The ACA expands Medicaid coverage to 16 million new enrollees starting in 2014, but the Supreme Court's decision gave states the option of rejecting the expansion, putting the health of millions of vulnerable Americans in the hands of state government.
Whether they're trying to prevent Medicaid cuts or ensure that states expand Medicaid, state advocates will need to:
- convince policymakers that Medicaid helps people and is popular; and
- present policymakers with savings and revenue options to support Medicaid
Advocates can use this Medicaid campaign planning guide to help develop their Medicaid campaigns in addition to this toolkit, which provides best practices and lessons from a number of states. Advocates can tailor the tactics, tools and resources in this guide to reflect specific expansion campaigns, strategies, or states' political environments when building the case for protecting and expanding Medicaid.