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States Missing Out on Billions by Refusing Medicaid

Posted on December 29, 2012 by admin

There has never been a question about the human benefits of accepting the Medicaid expansion: Millions of uninsured Americans will finally be able to have health insurance. To the average person, this argument is reason enough to take the offer provided by the federal government. However, conservative officials are more focused on the financial aspect of this decision.

Many have argued that expanding Medicaid in a state is not financially wise, as it forces states to limit the funds that they can use for other important things in the coming years. Education, for instance, would likely lose funding because of the need to pay the government back for a portion of the Medicaid bill (up to 10 percent of it by the year 2020). However, a recent study reveals just how financially unwise the decisions of conservative officials will prove to be in the near future.

The Urban Institute reports that those states that chose to refuse the Medicaid expansion have also turned down billions in federal funds and hospital reimbursement in the coming years. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation confirms the report with a study of its own. However, the amount of money left on the table varies from state to state, along with the cost that it would take to expand Medicaid in the next decade.

Florida, for instance, would require approximately $5.4 billion to expand the state medical program in the next 10 years. It’s a sizable sum, of course, but by refusing expansion, the state is missing out on $66.1 billion in federal funds. Florida is also losing $22.6 billion in hospital reimbursement. Another state whose expansion of Medicaid would have resulted in a substantial amount of federal funds is Texas. Deciding that nearly $5.7 billion was too much to pay for an expanded program in the coming decade, Texas officials refused the expanded program and the $65.6 billion in federal funds and $34.3 billion in hospital reimbursement that would have come with it.

Now that two trusted institutions have proven the financial wisdom in accepting expansion, the question becomes: What will the conservatives argue next?