From Health Policy Hub: For More Info, Go Here…
The link between Medicaid expansion and improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities in states across the country is crystal clear, supported by hundreds of studies. But there’s growing research to suggest that Medicaid expansion has impacts far beyond just health outcomes.
A new Data for Progress memo connects the dots between expanding Medicaid coverage and increasing political participation, pulling from a number of reports and studies that suggest the two go hand-in-hand. Data for Progress builds on the important work of researchers like Jamila Michener of Cornell University, who argues in her book “Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism, and Unequal Politics“ that the way individuals experience Medicaid impacts their relationship to government and democracy. In Data for Progress’ memo, the thesis is even more direct: they argue that Medicaid enrollment likely increases voter registration because it creates another entry point to register while individuals are signing up for coverage. Medicaid expansion also improves individuals’ physical health, mental health, and financial security – all factors potentially leading to greater participation in the democratic process for people with Medicaid coverage.
And of course, defending and supporting the Medicaid program – and Medicaid expansion – is an overwhelmingly popular issue, one that drives voters to the polls and remains a powerful catalyst for political participation. In fact, Data for Progress predicts that “as many as 1.3 million more Americans would vote under universal Medicaid expansion, and voter registration would increase by tens or possibly hundreds of thousands.”
However, these findings are all the more sobering when you consider this moment in time: one in which people of color, people with disabilities and young people continue to face systemic barriers to voting and in which some politicians are pushing ahead with voter suppression agendas in states across the country.
State and local advocates should continue to emphasize the important connection between Medicaid expansion and voter participation and look holistically at protecting the health and rights of the communities they are advocating for. Here’s how: