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Washington Could See Large Medicaid Expansion

Ruby de Luna

Washington lawmakers met Wednesday to plan the next steps for implementing the health care law. The discussion includes enrolling people who will qualify under Medicaid expansion.


Washington state could add more than 325,000 people to its rolls under the Medicaid expansion. Many of the new enrollees will be younger and healthier. That's according to a study by the Urban Institute, a think–tank based in Washington, DC. The state commissioned the study.

The Medicaid expansion is part of the Affordable Care Act and will take effect in 2014. Right now Medicaid covers specific groups of low income people: pregnant women and children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

The Medicaid expansion will cover a broader range of people, many of them considered working poor. They're between 19–64 years old who earn less than $14,000 a year.

State lawmakers are trying to figure how much it would cost in the long run. The study estimates that expanding Medicaid could cost the state $481 million over the next seven years.

Starting in 2014, the federal government will pick up the entire cost of coverage for the first three years. After that, it will gradually taper down to 90 percent.

I'm Ruby de Luna, KUOW News.

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