Thursday, May 13, 2010
How To Pay For Obamacare
The State of Indiana is now pondering how it is going to pay for the cost of implementing health care reforms enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama recently. Democrats have universally hailed the new changes. The change that will cost the state the most money is the expansion of coverage for Medicaid. Obamacare will increase eligibility to persons earning 138% of the poverty level, or about $30,000 a year. That change is expected to increase the number of persons eligible for Medicaid in Indiana by about a half million persons from 1 million to 1.5 million, which will cover one in four Hoosiers. Under the Medicaid program, the state matches federal spending on the program. The cost of the expanded coverage in coming years is expected to be $3.5 billion, more than a billion higher than anticipated when Congress passed the new law in December. The State Budget Committee is now tasked with figuring out how to pay for it. U.S. Rep. Andre Carson and U.S. Rep. Baron Hill claim the estimates given to the State Budget Committee are flawed. Sen. Luke Kenley, who chairs the committee, wondered aloud whether Indiana would be better off to opt out of Medicaid. Democrats counter that the state will pick up a smaller percentage of the cost of the new enrollees and not all those eligible to enroll will do so. Who do you believe?