WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress shows how partisan gerrymandering has allowed officials in a handful of states to deny their own residents expanded access to Medicaid despite strong public support.
The report examines the broad benefits of Medicaid expansion for states and low-income people and how partisan gerrymandering has blocked efforts toward sensible reforms in several key states, including North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia.
“While Medicaid enjoys strong public support, officials in a handful of states are refusing to act in the interests of their own citizens,” said Emily Gee, health economist of Health Policy at CAP and co-author of the report.
“Gerrymandering in these states has allowed conservative politicians to cater to the extreme right wing and oppose policies that would save thousands of lives at minimal cost to state taxpayers,” said Alex Tausanovitch, director of Campaign Finance and Electoral Reform at CAP and co-author of the report. “Gerrymandering undermines the relationship between the government and the governed, and that has consequences across every issue of public concern—including access to healthcare.”
Evidence shows that in states that implemented the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion, low-income populations benefited from not only better access to care but also greater financial stability, fewer evictions, and lower rates of poverty. In Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, fully implementing the ACA Medicaid expansion could have saved more than 3,000 lives in 2019 alone and reduced the number of uninsured people by nearly a million.
The report recommends requiring independent commissions to draw voter-determined districts based on statewide voter preferences. This policy would end partisan gerrymandering and increase representation for communities who have too often been shut out of the political system.
Read the report: “How Partisan Gerrymandering Limits Access to Health Care” by Alex Tausanovitch and Emily Gee