State Officials Voicing Concerns About Costs of Health Care Overhaul
This week, state officials received an indication of how much a proposal under current health reform bills to expand Medicaid eligibility would affect them, which puts many governors in the uncomfortable position of addressing the rising number of uninsured residents while protecting their states' bottom lines, the Baltimore Sun reports.
The Congressional Budget Office earlier this week estimated that state spending on Medicaid will increase by $33 billion over the next decade under the Senate Finance Committee's health reform bill, which expands Medicaid eligibility to individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level (Smitherman, Baltimore Sun, 10/9).
The proposal would have the federal government pick up between 77% and 95% of the cost of the expansion, with states contributing the difference.
Under a deal reached between Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the federal government would contribute 100% of the cost of the expansion in Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Rhode Island for the first five years (California Healthline, 10/5).
Republican governors and some Democrats have expressed concern regarding how their states will pay for the expansion.
Some states have indicated that they could benefit from the proposal.
For example, Maryland leaders believe the move could actually save the state money through reduced pharmaceutical prices and other measures, even though the expansion would mean 150,000 additional Maryland residents could enroll in Medicaid at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to the state annually.
According to the Sun, Maryland officials believe the federal plan would slow the rate at which health care costs increase because fewer uninsured people would be forced to seek treatment at hospitals.The Sun reports that could result in lower overall health care costs for the state and, in turn, lower insurance premiums for those who are covered (Baltimore Sun, 10/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.