State Officials Give Medicaid Expansion a Thumbs Down

Is expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act a good idea for states?

According to state budget directors across the country, the answer is a resounding no.  A recent survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office found the majority of 42 state budget directors believe expanding government health insurance for the poor will cost state taxpayers dearly. State budget directors estimate the costs from administering a larger Medicaid population will far exceed the savings from federal matching funds and reductions in uncompensated care.

The findings are a stark contrast to advocates of the law who argue the generous matching rates are a bargain (the idea is the federal government will pay for 100 percent of the expansion from 2014-2016).

So what would the Medicaid expansion cost Pennsylvanians? The state would add an additional 800,000 additional enrollees at a cost of $2 billion in state tax dollars by 2019. Nearly one in every four Pennsylvanians would be enrolled in Medicaid.

It’s time we join eight states who have already said no to expanding Medicaid and concentrate on real patient-centered reforms that will increase choice and reduce costs for all Pennsylvanians, including the poor.  Pennsylvania House Majority Whip Stan Saylor intends to introduce legislation that would reject the Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.

For more on why the Medicaid expansion is a fiscal nightmare for states see Avik Roy’s excellent summary.