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April 09, 2010

More ObamaCare Confusion

Have to pass it to know what's in it:

The session exemplifies the overwhelming sense of confusion among state lawmakers and health care officials around the country as they scramble to figure out what exactly health care reform means for their governments, their citizens and, not least of all, their budgets. With estimates ranging from state savings of $1 billion to $27 billion in additional costs, the one thing clear about health care reform is that little, if anything, is actually clear.

“It’ll probably be 10 years before it all shakes out,” says Chris Whatley, of the Council of State Governments, only half-jokingly. “This will push the fabric of the state-federal relationship in new directions, and we don’t know how it will all come out.”

That's from a long article on new state costs associated with ObamaCare and other drafting flaws likely to cause trouble in the near future. Many states are looking at serious budget deficits as a result of spending mandates:

Still, it’s true that the Medicaid expansion will cost Texas additional money. Even 10 percent of the estimated cost of the Medicaid expansion in the state would be $370 million for a state facing a dire budget situation. On a smaller scale, Alabama, which has an even stricter Medicaid program than Texas, estimates the law will cost that state “anywhere between $60 million to $100 million” each year, says Carol Steckel, the state Medicaid commissioner.

While there’s no shortage of cost estimates, Judy Solomon, a health policy expert at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says it’s still early to be putting any sure price tags on individual states. “It’s not a question that’s easily answered,” she says. “When our state groups come to me and want an estimate, I really can’t give them one.” In Solomon’s view, there are simply too many variables to allow confident prediction.

Definitely read the whole thing.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:33 AM

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