Why Medicaid Expansion Makes Sense

November 27, 2012 10:17 am

by Stefan · 17 comments

even if you hate Obamacare.

Expanding Georgia’s massive Medicaid health care program would cost the state roughly $2.5 billion over a decade, while providing half a million poor, uninsured Georgians with coverage, a new study estimates.

from the AJC

So, we pay 2.5 billion over ten years, and we insure many of our poorest families. That sounds like a good idea, if you support the basic premise of Obamacare (universal health care). But what if you don’t?

Under a Medicaid expansion — a pillar of the Affordable Care Act — the federal government would pay 100 percent of the costs for newly eligible enrollees the first few years, though that would later fall to 90 percent. The result: more than $33 billion in new federal money would flood into Georgia over a 10-year period, according to the study released Monday by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

$33 billion puts a lot of money back into our hospitals and health care networks, which provides them the ability to improve care and increase specialization. Which means if you or a loved one gets cancer, you won’t have to consider moving to Houston.

And it will allow Georgia to save $726 million in uncompensated care – money it is paying anyway when people show up to the emergency room. So that $2.5B, it’s really closer to 1.8B. Oh, and that $33 billion? Yeah, we already pay that in terms of higher premium costs on health insurance, since hospitals and doctors bill at a higher rate to cover their losses on the uninsured. So you can expect health insurance premiums to decrease, rather than going up and up and up.

So, here’s the math problem, how can $18 net you $330? Accepting the expansion is the right answer for Georgia.

 

ryanhawk November 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

Expanding access will increase total spending and won’t lower public cost. They’ve been at this with Romneycare in Mass. for a while now and we at least know this much. And I don’t see how matching more federal tax dollars with more state tax dollars in any ratio is a good deal for taxpayers.

bullFrog November 27, 2012 at 11:29 am

Math is hard. Gummint math is a lie.

Three Jack November 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

I suppose Saxby could make the argument that, “We will continue to work for deficit reduction that will not burden farmers doctors and without harming the mutually-beneficial relationship between farmers doctors and food stamp medicaid families.”

Fire up the money printers boys, Uncle Obama needs some more cash for his constituents.

Three Jack November 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

strikethrough didn’t work, modify…..edit….

Lawton Sack (Go Jackets!) November 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

There a lot of good things that people can do, but someone has to start asking the question, though, of how are we going to pay for it? Where is the magical $33 billion going to come from? We have 33.5% of the federal budget going towards Social Security and Medicare. Other responsibilities (debt included) leave about 37% in discretionary spending, which was about $1.3 trillion in 2011. The CBO put the 2011 federal deficit at $1.3 trillion. That means that if every penny of discretionary spending was cut in 2011, we would have broken even, at least in theory. That signals a problem! At some point we have to fix the problem before we keep piling more on top of the problem. You don’t get rid of the smell of manure by piling more manure on top of it. At some point you got to start shoveling to reduce the pile of manure.

The United States has tried many different ways of fighting poverty over the last 40+ years and the truth of the matter is that they are not working. The percentage of those living in poverty is basically the same now as it was in 1965/1966. The population continues to go up, so the number in poverty continues to go up. We keep fighting the symptoms and not the illness. The fact of the matter is that people need skills in order to be marketable in an economy. Unless people are learning these skills, then we are fighting an endless battle.

We also have a cultural issue in a global economy. The poverty level in the United States is set at $23,050 for a family of four. The poverty level in China is $456 or $1,825 for a family of four. I am not a global economist, so all I can do is recognize the huge disparity between the two and ask the question: Have we accepted things in this country as necessities that other cultures accept as wants?

johnl November 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

With all due respect Mr. Sack, try living anywhere in this country with a family of four on 23k. In fact, try living in Atlanta by yourself on that. Good luck.

Lawton Sack (Go Jackets!) November 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I lived off of $11,400 a year with a family of four for years, so I am not trying to trivialize this situation. I believe that my points and questions were fair and sincere.

Harry November 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I understand it’s not easy for a family of 4 on 23k, but do you expect society (taxpayers) to make up the difference?

benevolus November 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Some states are handling it better than others.
The states with the worst poverty rates:
42 Arizona 15.2%
43 West Virginia 15.4%
44 Oklahoma 15.6%
45 Arkansas 15.9%
46 Texas 16.2%
47 Alabama 16.7%
48 New Mexico 17.9%
49 Louisiana 18.3%
50 Mississippi 20.1%
51 District of Columbia 2.7%

The states with the best poverty rates:
1 New Hampshire 5.6%
2 New Jersey 6.8%
3 Vermont 7.6%
4 Minnesota 8.1%
5 Hawaii 8.6%
6 Delaware 9.2%
7 Utah 9.2%
8 Virginia 9.2%
9 Connecticut 9.7%
10 Nebraska 9.5%

(Georgia is 37th.)
Let’s ask those states with low rates how they do it.

Harry November 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

They do it with legacy demographics. You unfortunately can’t build wealth on the emerging demographics. Sure we’re all God’s children, but some are more equal than others.

Harry November 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Virginia does it with lots of federal payola.

benevolus November 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’m not sure what you are saying. The South is saddled with some special problems?

Harry November 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Yep…also industrial urban states, and California.

seenbetrdayz November 28, 2012 at 6:01 am

I don’t know if you’d want to hear their answer, particularly New Hampshire’s.

At one point (i’m not sure if they still do), that state expected 6 state legislators to share one office.

(I think it has something to do with the size of NH’s government.)

Mike Stucka November 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

My typical annoying question that no one ever really wants to tackle:

Right now, uninsured people still get some health care but require subsidies from people with health insurance. And even some people with health insurance get subsidies. So we’re taking from those as they can pay for it, and giving to those as they need it. We already have a Marxist system, quite literally by definition, except it wasn’t even designed to be that way, so it’s even less efficient. So why is the “socialism” argument such a boogeyman in a discussion of Obamacare, single payer or any other alternatives to our current non-system of healthcare?

Scott65 November 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

The problem with the logic here is that first thing people think about is it will cost us more, thats not true. Right now, if you are uninsured (because you cant afford to be) and dont feel well…chances are you wont see a doctor, but will hope to feel better. The problem is, if you dont get better…and get worse you end up going to the emergency room which is extremely expensive. If you dont have the money for the bill…we all pay for it in higher rates from hospitals…which drives insurance rates up…and outcomes are far worse than if you had insurance in the first place. If we can insure more people…you’ll have a lot more $50-100 Drs office visits that are paid for as opposed to the same number of $2000-$5000 emergency room visits…that is real savings of money and lives…so of course the governor is against it

benevolus November 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Not only that, the hospital deducts the loss from their income and pays less tax.

Comments on this entry are closed.