The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured released a report (PDF) yesterday that Republicans are sure to flout. Their research shows
that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office might have
underestimated the amount of people who will enroll in Medicaid when
analyzing the federal health care reform package. More enrollees,
Kaiser finds, will increase the cost of health reform to state
capitols, which jointly fund the public health program.
But Alex MacGillis at the Washington Post interprets this study correctly, and makes several points we've made
since the bill passed in March. The Kaiser study, he writes, "predicts
that the increase in state spending will be relatively small when
weighed against the broad expansion of health coverage for their
residents and the huge influx of federal dollars to cover most of the
cost." Indeed, if roughly 900,000 Illinois residents enrolled in
Medicaid by 2019, 700,000 of whom were previously uninsured, the state
would be forced to spend an additional $2.5 billion over five years.
Averaged out, that's just $493.6 million per year (or about $40 per
person annually) to reduce the state's uninsurance rate for working
poor adults by 69 percent! On top of that, the slight jump in Medicaid
costs could be partly canceled out by the savings in uncompensated care
for those currently uninsured.
Health care reform is a good deal for Illinois. Don't let the GOP tell you otherwise.