State of Disaster: ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion Drowns States in Debt

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Posted: Jul 09, 2010 4:03 PM
Guest Post by Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19)

Imagine if Louisiana was on the hook for the billions of dollars in cleanup and reconstruction costs post-Katrina. Imagine if Tennessee was stuck with the bill for draining and rebuilding Nashville after the 2010 floods. Governors and state legislators would be outraged at the federal government’s failure to assist with a natural disaster.

But what happens when a disaster is not an Act of God, but rather an Act of Congress?

My home state of Illinois has one of the largest state budget deficits in the country. Yet while Springfield drowns in debt, Washington rains an additional $1.89 billion in new mandatory spending on top of this year’s $12.8 billion deficit.

By raising Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty line ($29,326 for a family of four), ObamaCare will shift an estimated 15-20 million Americans onto the Medicaid rolls nationwide, raising state spending on Medicaid and CHIP by $30 billion through 2019 according to CBO. Shrinking state tax revenues and increased spending requirements are a perfect storm, drenching already burdened state budgets with a new wave of unfunded mandates.  

As with any disaster though, the real cost is to human life. Medicaid pays doctors less than 50% of what private insurers pay, often below the cost of providing care. As a result, it’s increasingly difficult for Medicaid patients to find a healthcare provider in many parts of the country. In fact, about 40% of physicians won’t accept Medicaid at all.

Next week, the Republican Health Care Solutions Group will hold its third forum investigating the costs and effects of ObamaCare. Our detailed look at the impact on states will be streamed live on July 15 at 1:30 eastern. Can’t tune in? Follow the live tweets @GOP_HCSG