Medicaid Expansion Proposal Continues To Worry Governors

The Washington Post: "The nation's governors are emerging as a formidable lobbying force as health-care reform moves through Congress and states overburdened by the recession brace for the daunting prospect of providing coverage to millions of low-income residents. Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal, a patchwork state-federal insurance program targeted mainly at children, pregnant women and disabled people would effectively become a Medicare for the poor, a health-care safety net for all people with an annual income below $14,404."

While the legislation calls for increased federal funding for the states, "lawmakers are wary about imposing a huge new burden on an imperfect program that serves one of the most challenging segments of the population, through a fragmented network of state-run systems. Among the 11 million people the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates will sign up for Medicaid under the new rules, many are single adults and parents who have gone for years without health coverage. Many of these individuals also live in communities that lack the services to treat them" (Murray, 10/5).

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the proposal could mean the number of Nevadans "with free health care would nearly double by 2015. ... A record 222,022 residents now receive medical care through the state-federal Medicaid program. That total would increase by 217,000 under the national health care bill, according to an analysis done by the state Health Care Financing and Policy Division." If it passes, Nevada would be responsible for 13-18 percent of the new costs of the Medicaid programs (Vogel, 10/5).

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