Obamacare Medicaid Expansion Drawing Concern From Dems

Thursday, 12 Jul 2012 10:11 AM

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The Obamacare provision to expand Medicaid is now being met with skepticism from Democratic governors who fear their states won’t be able to pay for it. At least seven Democratic governors are concerned about the issue, The Washington Post reported.

In Montana the law would add about 84,000 people to the state’s Medicaid program and by 2019 costs could reach $71 million. “Unlike the federal government, Montana can’t just print money,” Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont., said according to the Post. “We have a budget surplus, and we’re going to keep it that way.”

The Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare said that states could not be penalized for refusing to go along with the Medicaid expansion in 2014, leaving a number of unanswered questions for states. Dan Crippen, executive director of the National Governors Association, was asked to describe state reactions to the court’s ruling and replied with the word “confusion.”

Among the areas of confusion are whether the court’s ruling changes the rules governing Medicaid expansion, can states opt in at a later date or cut back, and can states set their own income cutoffs for admission to Medicaid.
The governors association, along with other groups including the Republican Governors Association, wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius seeking answers about the law’s provisions, the Post reported.

“The answers to these questions are key,” Matt Salo, director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, told the Post. “States need to be making these decisions now, and it’s hard to make them if you don’t have clarity.”

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