My home state of Georgia is one of those states that didn’t accept the Medicaid Expansion aka as the “Coverage Gap.” According to the Kaiser Foundation, this is causing rising costs for these non-expansion states…
“We did see a higher growth rate of what states spent of their own dollars on Medicaid in the in non-expansion states than we did in the expansion states” said Laura Snyder, a senior policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report found that total spending in expansion states grew by 17.7 percent, but the state spending only grew by 3.4 percent. Meanwhile, state spending on Medicaid in non-expansion states increased by 6.9 percent as total spending rose by 6.1 percent.
According to Snyder, it is not entirely clear what is driving the trend, but a number factors appear to be at play. Obviously having the federal government bear the burden for Medicaid expansion costs helped expansion-states curb their own spending on the program after it expanded. However, it also appears that Medicaid expansion states have saved money beyond that, such as in the way it they were delivering the program or how the expansion affected other aspects of Medicaid.
“There’s some potential the ACA is having some effect in the report we did,” Snyder said. “Among the expansion states, some of them noted savings in other parts of their budgets, some of them also noted savings within the Medicaid program.”
Furthermore, the report found that more than two-thirds of expansion states saw that the amount they paid per member per month was at or lower than their previous projections.
Additionally, non-expansion states on average saw a rise in their enrollees, perhaps due to more people becoming aware they were eligible for Medicaid with the publicity about the ACA, which could have attributed to the rise in the states’ costs…
As originally envisioned, Obamacare would have expanded Medicaid in all 50 states by threatening to withhold funding from states that did not expand, but the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that such coercion was unconstitutional and cleared the way for states to opt out.
Kaiser counted 29 states as expansion states for the purpose of the report, which covers fiscal year 2015. Montana and Alaska are moving to expand Medicaid in fiscal year 2016. Elsewhere, conservative lawmakers have resisted expanding the program, even when governors of their own party have asked them to.
Here in Georgia, our governor and legislators absolutely refused to even consider the expansion. I just wonder how these pro-business clowns in my state can justify this with hospitals closing and doctors leaving the south part of the state. How should these communities attract needed new business and jobs without a good healthcare network in the area?