Stimulus Medicaid money has run out

A piece of the Stimulus Bill increased the amount of money that the federal government (actually, you and your children and grandchildren, etc., will somehow have to figure out where to get that money) gave to states to cover the cost of Medicaid. That money has now been spent, and we are beginning to see the consequences.

States are cutting back on the amount of days a Medicaid recipient can spend in a hospital per year.  And, after that, well, I suppose the hospital has to eat the cost.  Of course they won’t, because they can’t, so, everyone’s insurance premiums will have to rise to cover that cost.  But, before you cheer for Obamacare as a solution, please, read on.

In April, Hawaii (subject to government approval) plans to cover only 10 hospital  days per year for its Medicaid recipients, the lowest in the nation.  Arizona (subject to government approval) will cover only 25 days per year. 

Currently, in Alabama, 16 days are covered, in Arkansas, 24 days are covered, in Mississippi, 30 days are covered, and, in Florida, 45 days are covered.

Why does this matter, you ask?  It matters because of Obamacare.

Beginning in 2014, under Obamacare, millions of currently uninsured Americans will be put into Medicaid.  From 2014 to 2016 the cost of providing benefits to those newly insureds will be paid for by the federal government.  After that, the federal government will pay 90%, and, you the taxpayer of let’s say Hawaii, will have to pay the balance.

If  Hawaii can not currently afford to pay for more than 10 hospital days per year for each Medicaid recipient, what happens when thousands more are added to the state’s Medicaid rolls?

The answer is simple.  The residents of Hawaii, who will be forced to purchase insurance, or pay a penalty, will see their premiums rise to cover the unreimbursed cost of the hospital stays of the Medicaid recipients.  And, in the end, we will be no better off than we are now…those with insurance will continue to pay for those without.

But, at least now, we can choose the type of coverage we want, or if we want coverage at all.  Under Obamacare, we lose that option.


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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Dimsdale on October 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    The stimulus money merely became an entitlement that is passed onto the states when the money runs out.? A paid for by someone else taste of the “virtues” of ?bamacare, and it will be the state’s fault if the recipients don’t get their “fix” anymore.? Nice.

  2. ricbee on October 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    ?From the things I’ve been hearing about hospitals lately-I ain’t going no matter who’s paying.

    • Dimsdale on October 27, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Or in this case, not paying.

  3. Lynn on October 27, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can support Obamacare, except for the indigent. The whole purpose was to the lower the cost of healthcare, without compromising our health.? It fails on all levels and angles. Can you hear me screaming?

  4. JBS on October 27, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Time was hospitals where a place to go only when you were dying. ObamaCare is going to expedite the process. I hope all of the people longing for the glories of socialism are watching just what is happening. When the State sets the rules, people lose.


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