The Rising Cost Of Medicaid Expansion Unnerves Some States

I’ve never understood the expression “costs rising faster than expected” by the progressives. Everyone expected the costs to skyrocket except for the economically stupid liberals who promote these laws. 

I wish we could make the lawmakers personally financially responsible for all the bad fiscal laws they pass. 

The cost of expanding Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is rising faster than expected in many states, causing budget anxieties and political misgivings.

Far more people than projected are signing up under the new, more relaxed eligibility requirements, and their health care costs are running higher than anticipated, in part because the new enrollees are apparently sicker than expected. Rising drug prices may also be a factor.

As a result, at least three expansion states, Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio, have been pushing to require Medicaid recipients to pay more toward their health insurance – a step that some experts say could lead tens of thousands of poor people who can’t afford the extra cost to drop off the Medicaid rolls and go without coverage. Contrary to common perceptions, Medicaid coverage isn’t always free – many states require modest copayments.

The soaring tab for the state-federal program could also harden opposition to expansion in the 19 states that have yet to sign up. The situation will be one of the thorny issues the next president will have to address, with the health care of millions of Americans hanging in the balance.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have opted to expand the program for poor and lower-income Americans as part of the Affordable Care Act, helping to greatly reduce the number of people without coverage. The federal government has been picking up the entire tab for the new enrollees, but states will begin paying a 5 percent share in January, and that will rise to 10 percent by 2020.

While that may not sound like a lot, it can add up to tens of millions of dollars per state. Health care is already the second-biggest state expense, behind public schools, and a number of states have yet to see their tax revenue fully rebound from the Great Recession.

Arkansas – where more than 307,000 people have signed up for the expansion, exceeding the projected 250,000 – is asking the federal government for permission to charge some new Medicaid recipients premiums to help cover the costs. Some lawmakers want to kill the expansion altogether.