Senator Marco Rubio is shying away from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, following Scott’s controversial expansion of Florida’s Medicaid program. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is also distancing himself from the governor’s move, reportedly telling state lawmakers that he is against the expansion.
The authors quote one former state Medicaid director who says the uncertainty caused by Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid coverage, the decline in the subsidies to hospitals, and the need to cost shift to private insurance is already inflating health care costs. States and counties may need to funnel more taxpayer money to hospitals to make up the Medicaid shortfall, but states may not have the money.
Gov. Chris Christie will expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents, The (New Jersey) Star-Ledger learned today (February 26, 2013). The governor’s new budget to be unveiled at a joint session of the Legislature this afternoon, also relies on state revenue growth of 4.9 percent and delays some property tax rebates for local taxpayers.
In this opinion piece, Scott Milbank notes that Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a tea party Republican who was elected by campaigning against Obamacare and who fought the law in court, is now the seventh Republican governor to accept Obama’s expansion of government-funded health care for the poor. Scott even publicly made a moral case for Obamacare and the expansion of Medicaid.
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that his state will go along with the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to cover all residents under 138 percent of the federal poverty line. In states not agreeing to the expansion, those earning between 100 percent and 138 percent of poverty will be able to get tax credits to buy insurance on state exchanges. However, those below the poverty level not now poor enough to be eligible for unexpanded Medicaid will be left out.
Michael Tomasky notes that Florida Gov. Scott and other big-state GOP governors (in Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, etc.) are now accepting Obamacare and agreeing to cover people with Medicaid funds. Tomasky posits various reasons for Scott’s acceptance and authority: He is the governor of a huge state with many seniors; he is a former health-care exec who can speak to all this with some presumed knowledge. Ironically, he called Obamacare an evil job-killer many times and he was also aligned with the Tea Party, although perhaps no longer.
As the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) begins, 30 governors are resisting key provisions of the law. This article’s authors suggest that the governors and President Obama should work together to change the law’s future to provide flexibility, create consumer information exchanges, allow health accounts for all and be free to experiment with the Medicaid issue and copy innovations developed in other states.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott is the latest of seven Republican governors to embrace Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, and will be accepting federal government money to expand Medicaid coverage to nearly all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL). However, many of these same governors (Florida’s Rick Scott, Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Ohio’s John Kasich) have rejected the idea of setting up healthcare insurance exchanges, which requires more effort and offers less financial reward. Moreover, by doing nothing the federal government will step in and set one up for them. (Michigan, however, is ‘splitting the difference’ and will operate its healthcare insurance market in partnership with the federal government).
Article notes that Florida Republican Rick Scott has joined other GOP Governors in shouldering some responsibility for ObamaCare, “which has liberal sages gloating about a resistance-is-futile shift in the GOP.” The piece claims that Governors now expanding Medicaid are setting their own fiscal principles aside as they attempt to take political credit for accepting “free” money from the government, since the Health and Human Services Department will pay 100% of the cost of new beneficiaries, later 90%. Indiana Governor Mike Pence is quoted, calling this “the classic gift of a baby elephant,” with the federal government promising to buy all the hay for only the first few years, metaphorically speaking. Governors like Scott and Ohio’s John Kasich are instead attempting to establish triggers or “sunsets” that would automatically rescind their participation in new Medicaid if and when Washington reneges on funding.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attempts to deal with the funding problems are also examined.
Conservative health policy thinkers Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy propose that Republicans embrace a system whose goal is to transition Americans into a system of regulated, subsidized, individual plans modeled on the Switzerland approach. In other words, they want Republicans to surrender. But they do want to reduce the subsidies by loosening regulations that make the insurance plans stingier, but slowly raise the Medicare eligibility age, so that over time an increasing share of the elderly population will be covered by Obamacare rather than Medicare. Finally, they want to transition low-income Americans out of Medicaid and into the Obamacare exchanges. All of this would reduce the amount of tax revenue needed to finance Obamacare.