Colorado Scales Back Medicaid Program

Thursday, 01 Sep 2011 05:50 AM

By Greg McDonald

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In a move that could have national implications, Colorado is scaling back its Medicaid program because costs have increased nearly nine times over original estimates, according to a report Wednesday in The Denver Post.
 
According to the newspaper, state officials are tightening up eligibility requirements and capping the number of people covered, which is nearly three times as high as was projected two years ago following passage of the Obamacare.
 
The Affordable Care Act allows states to impose a fee on hospitals and tap federal matching funds to expand Medicaid coverage to poor adults without dependent children whose income is 100 percent of the poverty level for an individual about $10,890 a year.
 
The law calls for covering all childless adults at or below 133 percent of the poverty line in 2014, to be paid for with federal funds. 
 
Joanne Zahora, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which manages the state Medicaid program, said the cost per client is “much higher than could be imagined.”
 
She told the Post that Indiana, Oregon, and Wisconsin are also experiencing shortfalls and have had to cap their enrollments and form waiting lists.
 
“No states were able to implement their programs without major problems,” Zahora said. “We have learned from these experiences and are establishing a wait list up front to avoid complications.”
 
Concerns about rising Medicaid costs are addressed in a new report by the Republican Governors’ Public Policy Committee.

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