As you may remember from my last post on the subject, the expansion of Medicaid is the provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will do the most to provide health coverage to low-income people.
Originally, the expansion of coverage was mandatory for all states to implement in order to receive federal matching funds for their respective Medicaid programs. However, In June of last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the threat presented by the ACA of eliminating all Medicaid funding constituted “a gun to the head” of states and was therefore unconstitutional. As a matter of practicality, the expansion has now been rendered optional.
States are now debating whether to implement this expansion, a debate we as Jews have a vested interest in. We learn from ancient Jewish scholars and texts that providing health care is not just an obligation for the patient and the doctor, but for the society as well. It is for this reason that Maimonides lists health care among the ten most important communal services that had to be offered by a city to its residents. (Mishneh Torah, SeferHamadda IV:23). During the long history of the self-governing Jewish community, almost all communities set up societies to ensure that all members had access to health care. Doctors were required to reduce their rates for poor patients and, when that was not sufficient, communal subsidies were established (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 249:16; Responsa Ramat Rahel of Rabbi Eliezer Waldernberg 24-25).
Therefore, the RAC has created a new webpage dedicated to Medicaid and Medicaid expansion; it serves as a terrific complement to our other resources on healthcare. From these pages you can find basic information about the Medicaid program and where it stands with regard to expansion in the various states. In addition, we have created an action page where you can send letters and emails to your legislators and governor urging them to expand Medicaid in your state. If you live in a state that has already committed to expanding Medicaid, you can also thank your elected officials for doing so.
Don’t delay – take action now!
Image Courtesy of Doctors for America.