A Sign of Things to Come?

Cancelled health care plans, an unusable exchange website—do we still trust the federal government to deliver on its health care promises?

In what could be a sign of what’s to come, the federal government looks likely to give less funding to Pennsylvania for matching welfare costs. Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth estimates a formula change would result in a $325 million reduction in Medicaid funding for Pennsylvania next year. Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and the federal taxpayers, with the federal government chipping in more than half of the costs.

While Medicaid spending is already out of control, these cuts don’t come along with the flexibility Pennsylvania needs to revamp its program to save costs and provide better care to low-income families.

This could become new normal if Pennsylvania accepts federal Medicaid expansion funds to purchase insurance for low-income individuals on the exchange boondoggle. President Obama has already twice proposed reducing the matching rates for Medicaid expansion.

The federal reductions should serve as a warning to resist any form of “free federal money.”