Medicaid Expansion And Struggling State Budgets

"The government programs that provide health care to the poor would expand to cover nearly one in five Americans under health insurance legislation pending in Congress, putting pressure on federal and state budgets," USA Today reports. "Medicaid, one of the fastest-growing government programs for two decades, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program would grow from about 50 million people today to more than 60 million in 2019, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office and Kaiser Family Foundation. That would be the biggest single expansion since Medicaid was created in 1965" (Kaiser Health News is a program of the Foundation). Governors of states that are already struggling with budget constraints "question if states can afford their share of the expansion cost. The federal government paid $258 billion for Medicaid in 2009, about 57% of total costs, but would pay 90% of the expansion. States would pay about $33 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office."

"Most of the 14 million adults who would be added over the next decade lack insurance and get health care at emergency rooms and community health centers. The federal government pays some of that cost, but hospital payments would be reduced. Most of the costs to cover the uninsured are absorbed by the facilities or passed on by insurers to employers and employees in the form of higher premiums. Because new Medicaid beneficiaries would use more health care services than they do now, government costs would increase" (Wolf, 10/19).

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