Medicaid Enrollment increases Prove To Be Fighting Words

A recent report on the site (5/18) says the feds are picking up the full tab for Medicaid expansion expenditures through the year 2016. After that the feds plan a cutback, dropping that level down from 100 to 90 percent. This prospective scenario has raised the ire of conservatives who say that such financial responsibility winding up on the states’ backs (according to Rachana Pradhan writing in Politico) “are just too big a burden, and they see vindication in the sign up numbers, proof that costs will be more than projected as they have warned all along.”

Conservatives like Florida Gov. Rick Scott are quoted by Politico as saying, “The expansion of Obamacare will cost our state taxpayers $ 5 billion.” “Name the healthcare program – – I think the only one is Medicare Part D – that cost less than what they initially anticipated.  . . . Historically, if you look at the numbers, with the growth in Medicare costs. Medicaid costs, it’s always multiples.”

Meanwhile, the legislature in Florida is bitterly divided over Medicaid policy.  At one point Gov. Scott had advocated Medicaid expansion, but later had second thoughts.

Other governors are worried as well. In Utah, for example, Gov. Gary Herbert is scratching his head, trying to figure out a way for his state to expand Medicaid. According to Pradhan’s Politico account, “Herbert met with HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in late April and later voiced worries that any form of expansion could mean Medicaid consumes an even bigger chunk of the state budget starting in 2017.”

Meanwhile ACA advocates say “(Medicaid) expansion is providing significant health and economic benefits to states that more than offset costs.”