CBO Lowers Spending Forecast For States That Expand Medicaid Coverage

The Congressional Budget Office updated its February forecast, which pegged the cost at $70 billion over the next 10 years. The new figure puts the cost at $46 billion. In other Medicaid expansion news, Virginia's charged debate on this question appears to be spilling over to other issues before the General Assembly, Louisiana rejects expansion again and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer continues to confront opposition.    

The New York Times: Forecast Cut On Spending For Health
The Congressional Budget Office has reduced by one-third its estimate of how much more states will spend on Medicaid in the coming decade because of the Affordable Care Act. In early February, the budget office estimated that state spending on Medicaid and a related program for children would be $70 billion higher from 2015 to 2024 because of the law’s coverage provisions. In a new report, the budget office puts the cost at $46 billion (Pear, 4/23).

CQ Healthbeat:  Lower Costs Forecast For States That Expand Medicaid Coverage
Expanding Medicaid under the health law is a better financial proposition for states than previously thought, according to a left-leaning think tank that projects the 10-year cost starting in 2015 will be 34 percent lower than an earlier estimate. Revised Congressional Budget Office health cost projections released last week show expanding Medicaid would raise state spending by $46 billion from 2015 through 2024, according to Edwin Park, an analyst with the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The baseline CBO issued in February pegged the cost at $70 billion over a decade (Reichard, 4/24).

The Washington Post: Va. Lawmakers Fail To Override Any Of Governor’s Vetoes
The General Assembly returned to the Capitol for its annual "veto session" to consider the 60 bills McAuliffe amended and four of the five he had vetoed. (The fifth veto had been sustained during the regular session.) It took no action on the overdue state budget, which has been deadlocked by an impasse over Medicaid. But rancor over the budget and Medicaid spilled over into Wednesday's work in floor speeches (Vozzella, 4/23).

The Associated Press: Virginia Lawmakers Sustain McAuliffe Vetoes
At a news conference, Senate Democratic Leader Richard L. Saslaw of Fairfax accused Republican lawmakers who oppose Medicaid but have state-funded health insurance of being hypocritical. On the House floor, Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, accused McAuliffe of "extorting" the entire state by insisting on a budget that includes expanding Medicaid eligibility (4/23).

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: A Year After Arizona Approved Medicaid Expansion, Brewer Still Fighting For It
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer fought harder than any Republican governor last year to push through Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. Almost a year later, she's still fighting opposition to it on two fronts. First, she vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have capped the Medicaid program. … Even if Brewer had signed the bill, it's unlikely the law would have taken effect in Arizona. It would have had to pass review by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which had already warned that the Arizona bill ran counter to the goals of the Medicaid program (Millman, 4/23).

The Associated Press: Louisiana: Medicaid Expansion Is Rejected Again
Lawmakers have again turned away efforts to expand the state Medicaid program under the federal health care law, with the Senate health committee voting 6 to 2 on Wednesday against an expansion (4/24).

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Louisiana Senate Committee Kills Medicaid Expansion Bill
The Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee halted a chance on Wednesday (April 23) for the full body to vote on a bill that would "let Louisiana decide" on Medicaid expansion. Senate Bill 96, sponsored by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, proposed a constitutional amendment mandating the state implement a program to provide health insurance to those living at or below the federal poverty line. If the proposal was adopted by voters, the state would accept billions in federal funding for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, to provide heath care for those who make about $11,490 for a single person and $23,550 for a family of four (Lane, 4/23).

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