It would be another big increase in welfare payments down the road:  Governors worried by healthcare bill costs

The nation’s governors, Democrats as well as Republicans, voiced deep concern yesterday about the shape of the healthcare bill emerging from Congress, fearing that the federal government is about to hand them expensive new Medicaid obligations without providing the money to pay for them.

…They are already anticipating large gaps in Medicaid financing after 2010, when stimulus money will no longer be available. And they point out that Medicaid already suffers from low payment rates to healthcare providers, discouraging some doctors and hospitals from accepting beneficiaries. If Medicaid is expanded, states would almost surely have to increase payments to doctors to encourage more of them to participate.

Governor Phil Bredesen, a Tennessee Democrat, said he feared Congress was about to bestow “the mother of all unfunded mandates.’’

“Medicaid is a poor vehicle for expanding coverage,’’ said Bredesen, a former healthcare executive. “It’s a 45-year-old system originally designed for poor women and their children. It’s not healthcare reform to dump more money into Medicaid.’’

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