Notes on a Theory…

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Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid expansion

The Impact of Limits of Medicaid Expansion

with 4 comments

As I noted earlier, the big question at the moment is what the potential impact of the limits the Court imposed on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which extends to all adults earning less than 133 percent of the poverty level.

David Cole, who I respect a great deal, has thing to say in The Nation

It seems unlikely that states will turn down those funds. Under the ACA, the federal government initially covers 100 percent of all new Medicaid costs, and while the federal contribution  diminishes over time, it never falls below 90 percent of the program’s cost, so any  rational  state will likely take the money and expand its coverage.

I don’t see what that last statement has to do with anything. If your goal is to ensure insecurity, to provide punishment to those at or near the bottom, then the fact that the federal government will mostly pay for achieving a goal you don’t share is irrelevant.  Since breaking the budget to justify further cuts to things like health care, education and public employee pay & benefits is a standard strategy among Republicans in the states right now, this seems to have the logic exactly backwards. This statement is not an outlier, but it seems to reflect an all too common mistake–assuming that conservatives and progressives share the same goals but disagree on means.  I’d suggest reading Cory Robin‘s most recent book to fully understand how mistaken that is. (Robin has some great posts which include excerpts from the book that discuss Justice Scalia that are very timely).

My concern  is articulated well in a post entitled Beyond the mandate: Court’s ruling on another ACA provision could have sweeping implications by Ned Resnikoff:

As Lean Forward reported earlier, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley believes that the Medicaid decision could spell disaster for health care reform:

“This creates a ripple effect,” Turley said on MSNBC. “A majority of states oppose this law. If they had an ability to opt out, they would. I don’t see how the health care law could survive if the pool is reduced by that amount. You need to force young people to buy health insurance since they’re not going to get sick as often and (having them in the pool) makes it more affordable.”

Note the issue here isn’t just these individuals, but the impact leaving them out could have on everyone else.

Like I said, this history isn’t written yet.  Whether it’s implementing the law, or expanding it in the future, what happens will be a result of politics,of agitation.  If only one side mobilizes, they have the advantage.

Written by David Kaib

June 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm

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