Thursday, December 31, 2009

Feingold v. the Truth on Medicaid Expansion

Feinie "fixed" ObamaCare for Wisconsin. That's what Feinie will tell you at his 'listening sessions.'

But the NYTimes doesn't agree with Feinie's spin. After 2 years or so, Wisconsin will bite the Green Wazoo, unlike a number of other States, and especially Nebraska.

...while the federal government would pick up the entire tab for expanding Medicaid to those not now eligible under their state's coverage for two years, for years three through five the federal government would return 95 percent of the cost of expansion to those states without expanded coverage now, but only between 80 percent and 95 percent to states with expanded coverage now, such as Wisconsin, based on per capita income.

More important, the Times reported, many citizens now eligible in states with expanded coverage have not yet enrolled but most likely will after the bill's enactment, if only because the law would require everybody to purchase health insurance.

The kicker is, the Senate bill provides new matching dollars only for those who are "newly eligible," which would be the case mostly in states expanding coverage under the bill. In states where coverage has already expanded, Zernike wrote, many citizens might be newly enrolled but would not be "newly eligible," and so no additional matching funds would be provided.

The existing reimbursement rate would control.

In Wisconsin, then, expanding Medicaid won't by itself drive up state Medicaid costs because the state's coverage already generally covers people up to 150 percent of the federal poverty line. So Wisconsin's coverage will still be more generous.

However, because many now below 150 percent of the poverty line are already eligible, though unenrolled, new (meaning increased) federal matching funds wouldn't be available for them when they do sign up.

In contrast, their income counterparts in states without such generous coverage will be newly eligible when the bill takes effect, and their states would receive the additional federal dollars.

To make matters worse, because of the Nelson and other so-called business-as-usual compromises, Wisconsin will not only fail to collect on many newly enrolled eligible citizens but will also subsidize workers enrolling in such states as Nebraska, since the federal government will cover its Medicaid's expansion 100 percent in perpetuity.

Oh, well. Another Kohl/Feinie FAIL.

Thanks a lot, Russ!

HT: FoxPolitics

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