Wednesday, May 22, 2013

States who implement expanded Medicaid will see significant improvement in financial health

With the arrival of medical care under the Affordable Care Act in 2014, those states who's legislatures are smart businessmen will see state expenditures for medicaid recipients health insurance coverage erased off their books.  This can save many states tens of billions of dollars of state funds.

Some states with Republican governors and/or legislatures have unfortunately allowed Federal Republicans to distort their view of Obama Care benefits to the states and in so doing have done themselves, their state and their citizens a disservice.

It is just bad business for a state to turn away federal money but that's exactly what some foolish state legislatures are doing.  Let me cite an example with the situation in Florida.

Florida's Governor, Rick Scott originally sided with federal Congressional Republicans and supported the "Obama-Care bad" philosophy.  But when Governor Scott began to investigate the advantages of
implementing expanded medicaid in Florida, he changed his mind.  Unfortunately, most of the GOP in the Florida legislature didn't have the wisdom or understanding that Scott had and now it looks as though Florida will not implement expanded medicaid.

Florida is currently funding medicaid for 3.3 million recipients at a cost of $21 billion a year before Obama-Care.  Half of this cost is shared with the federal government.  Although the intentions of the Florida legislature may have been to not become a partner with the federal government (because Obama-Care is a Democrat idea), they already are partners with them.  So to bite off their own noses to spite their faces, the Republicans in the Florida legislature are willing to give up about $10.5 billion dollars of federal assistance to make an empty gesture of solidarity that will cost Florida tax payers billions.

Under Obama Care, medicaid's expansion would give health coverage to unemployed persons and people who cannot afford health insurance and are not covered by any company health insurance plan or medicaid recipient class today.  Florida would have been able to add this class of recipient for no additional cost under Obama Care for the first three years of implementation.  After that, the State would only bear 10% of medicaid costs, which is still a bargain since they are currently paying 50% of the cost.

When individuals do not have insurance and go to a hospital for medical care, they often go to the emergency room.  Emergency room costs are very high.  Since uninsured patients usually cannot pay their medical bill, hospitals will file with insurance companies and insurance companies will pass that cost along to the rest of us in increased insurance premiums.

Hospitals are more likely to be able to increase employment when more people are covered by an insurance plan and are able to receive medical treatment.  This should not be overlooked by the party who only thinks about "jobs, jobs, jobs."

Ultimately, Florida would be able to cover more patients for less cost if the legislature would implement expanded medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The situation is exactly the same for other states.  It just makes good fiscal sense for states to implement the extended medicaid program.  It is puzzling why some are not.

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