Republican governors' decision to reject expanding Medicaid under Obamacare isn't just a political loss for President Barack Obama. It also will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of uninsured veterans to access health insurance.
In total, 284,000 poor uninsured veterans who would have qualified for Medicaid under the expansion will not be able to access it because their states will not participate or have not decided on whether to do so, according to a new study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute. The study assumes that the states that are currently undecided on the issue will not participate in the expansion.
Fourteen governors -- including Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) -- have rejected expanding Medicaid in their states, and another 11 are undecided. Some of these governors have cited cost as a factor.
Obamacare seeks to expand Medicaid to anyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. But the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision last year left it up to the states to decide whether to participate in the Medicaid expansion. Only 25 states and the District of Columbia have said yes so far, and as many as 6 million Americans may miss out on Medicaid as a result, according to a July assessment by the Congressional Budget Office.
The federal government will pay to enroll new people in Medicaid between 2014 and 2016, after which its share of the cost will slowly decline.
There are 1.3 million uninsured non-elderly veterans in the U.S., according to the Urban Institute study. Last year, 9.9 percent of the veterans who have served in the military since September of 2001 were unemployed, according to the Labor Department.
(Hat tip: ThinkProgress.)