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States Pass Laws Allowing Medicaid Dollars to Combat Gun Violence

To tackle America’s gun problem, a growing number of states are using Medicaid dollars to pay for community-based programs intended to stop shootings, according to Governing. So far, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Oregon have passed laws approving the use of Medicaid -- which provides health care for low-income and disabled residents -- for gun-violence prevention, said Kyle Fischer, policy and advocacy director for The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, which lobbied for the federal and state Medicaid policy changes that allow this spending. More states are expected to follow.

The idea is to boost resources for violence prevention programs, which have been overwhelmed in some cities by a spike in violent crime since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicaid dollars have long been used to cover the often-expensive care of patients who are victims of gun violence. But now, with gun control legislation stalled in Congress, the Biden administration has opened up federal Medicaid dollars to help states and cities to combat firearm violence. And because Medicaid is a state-administered federal program, states must also approve spending the money on violence prevention.


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