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.