And drown in red ink. It’s not just a government-backed health insurance plan that will cost taxpayers an arm and a leg in Congress’s health care reform plan. From WSJ, States Fight Medicaid Expansion
Some governors are pushing to scale back or kill proposals to expand Medicaid to provide health-care coverage to the uninsured, raising a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s effort to overhaul the system.
Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor, is funded through a combination of federal and state tax money. Proposals in the House and Senate would expand the program to cover at least a third of the nation’s 46 million uninsured, but states are worried they would get stuck with a big part of the tab.
We’ll take care of you, says Washington to the states:
In private meetings, Senate Democrats working on health care have assured the governors that the federal government will assume all the costs for the expansion at first, followed by a transition to shared responsibility. House Democrats are pressing to have the federal government take on the full cost permanently.
It could prove to be the final blow for California:
California is in “a state of financial catastrophe,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “[I]f you change the Medicaid rate, for example, it has an impact on California between $1 billion and $5 billion a year. Now, how could I support that?” she asked. “It would take down the state.”
The House and Senate compete to increase the national debt and the number of government dependents:
The House Democratic plan would offer coverage to any uninsured American with incomes up to 133% of the poverty line, with the federal government assuming all the cost of expansion. Proponents haven’t said what that will cost.
A proposal by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee may go up to 150% of the poverty line. The federal government would assume all the cost for five years. During the next five years, the states would gradually assume half the cost.
The Senate Finance Committee is working on legislation along the same lines, but not as generous. Pregnant women would be covered up to 150% of the poverty line. Childless adults could be closer to 115%, a senior committee aide said.
The Obama Administration isn’t finished dreaming up ways to spend other people’s money:
White House officials appear to be looking at other options for the uninsured poor.
“It’s too early in the process to determine how low-income individuals without health insurance will be covered,” said Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for the White House budget office.
Must be too much to ask that Congress reform insurance regulation in a way to let the free market make it possible for low-income people to buy what they can afford, if they choose. Can’t let them develop illusions of independence.