Wednesday, February 6, 2013


From the Baton Rouge Advocate:
A varied group of organizations and individuals on Tuesday urged Gov. Bobby Jindal to agree to the Medicaid expansion included in the federal health care overhaul.

“Medicaid expansion could provide health coverage to 400,000 Louisianians, most of whom are currently uninsured, and bring in billions of new federal dollars. It will benefit Louisiana’s families, businesses, health care providers and the economy — all at little cost to the state budget,” the open letter to Jindal said.

Jindal — like other Republican governors — has consistently declined to embrace the key part of the Affordable Care Act, referred to as Obamacare. He claims it would be too costly for the state in the long run and there is not enough flexibility to design a program that meets state needs.

Jindal did not agree to be interviewed Tuesday, but his press office released a statement saying his position has not changed.

“Medicaid relies on an outdated model that costs taxpayers billions of dollars and produces poor outcomes,” Jindal said in the prepared statement. He said the expansion could cost Louisiana more than $1 billion in 10 years.
Other Republican governors are taking the Medicaid expansion funds because they realize that the money will benefit their people and their states, but Jindal is an idealogue, and the people of Louisiana be damned, Jindal must adhere to his philosophy.

As usual, Jindal is too timid to face the local media, because they might ask him hard questions about "the outdated model" and the "$1 billion in 10 years" cost of expanding Medicaid.  I'm not knowledgeable enough about budget math and charts, but I'd  like to see an independent source investigate whether the $1 billion over 10 years cost claimed by Jindal is accurate.

Last year, the conclusion to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reads as follows:

Contrary to claims made by some of the Medicaid expansion’s critics, the expansion does not impose substantial financial burdens on states. The additional state Medicaid spending that CBO expects to result from the expansion equals 2.8 percent of what states would have spent on Medicaid in the absence of health reform; this estimate includes the cost of covering individuals who are currently eligible but not enrolled. Estimates from other respected independent sources are similar or even lower — and both those estimates and CBO’s reflect state costs before factoring in state savings in areas such as uncompensated care costs and mental health services.

CBO expects that the expansion will result in 17 million more people being covered, which will significantly reduce state costs for uncompensated care and related programs and offset some or potentially all of the increase in state Medicaid costs.

In short, the federal government will pick up the overwhelming share of the costs of the Medicaid expansion, making it an extremely favorable deal both for states, as well as for their low-income uninsured residents.

The Medicaid expansion would come at a modest cost to the state with the federal government initially paying 100 percent for the first three years and then a small portion after that — never more than 10 percent, proponents wrote.
What I'd like to see is a breakdown by an independent source on why Medicaid expansion would be such a bad deal for Louisiana, when it appears to be advantageous to other states in ways that even Republican governors who don't like Obamacare can understand.

Among the groups and individuals who sent the letter to Jindal are the following:
AARP, the Advocacy Center, the Greater New Orleans American Association of University Women, Louisiana AIDS Advocacy Network, the Louisiana Budget Project, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (Mid South Division), and the National Association of Social Workers, Louisiana Chapter.


susan s. said...

He acts like he would be forced to pay for Birth Control or something. Not that he will mention this as long as he has cost to the state to kick around.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I'm looking around for someone to do the numbers on Jindal's claim of $1 billion as the cost of the program. I don't take his word for it.

JCF said...

Hear, hear.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jindal makes me want to tear my hair out.