According to a new report from the Heritage Foundation, there’s even more reason to oppose Gov. Beshear expanding Medicaid in Kentucky than simple free market economic principles. And over the next ten years, that reason is likely to burden taxpayers in the commonwealth with nearly $1 billion in expanded costs.
The Heritage report breaks down the costs and benefits of Medicaid expansion as recommended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, state by state. Their results show that the vast majority of the benefits will be enjoyed by only one state, which happens to possess the most bloated Medicaid program in the nation, New York. In fact, only ten of the fifty states will enjoy net benefits at all, and New York will swallow the majority of those: $33.8 billion of the $48 billion total benefits.
Unfortunately, Kentucky is projected to be one of the forty states to see significant increases in costs as a result of the proposed Medicaid expansion, costs totaling $846 million over the next ten years. The reason for this is that Kentucky – like most states its size – has a Medicaid program much more modest than states like New York or Massachusetts. As such, Kentucky won’t enjoy the cost-savings of having the feds pay for our so-called “optional population” of Medicaid beneficiaries – because there isn’t one.
According to the PPACA, starting in 2017 the feds will start to scale back the dollars they put toward Medicaid expansion in the states, meaning the bill will have to be picked up by Kentucky taxpayers. And also starting in 2017, the growth in the costs of Medicaid expansion will throttle into full gear. The only savings Kentucky will see is the modest sum related to hospital patients who don’t have the means to pay for their care. Kentucky will no longer be liable for many of these uninsured because they’ll be covered under Medicaid.
Despite the nearly $1 billion price tag and the Kentucky Senate’s failed efforts to force Gov. Beshear to seek legislative approval before expanding Medicaid, the good governor is still leaning toward burdening taxpayers in the commonwealth. Perhaps he’s banking on being voted out of office before the costs start to pile up for his voting base?