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Medicaid costs to soar under federal health care law

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dear Fellow Nebraskans:

Since the passage of the federal health care law, I have been concerned about the cost of this law and in particular its impact on the State of Nebraska in future years. We recently asked an expert, independent firm to assess the provisions of the law. The results of their analysis are staggering.

The financial analysis reveals the new cost to the State of Nebraska to finance expanded Medicaid programs will be between $526 million and $766 million over the next 10 years.

This unfunded and unparalleled expansion of Medicaid is an unfair and unsustainable mandate on Nebraska and other states.

Conducted by an independent third party with experience consulting on the Medicaid programs for two dozen states, the analysis looked at 2011 through 2020 and provided an estimate of Nebraska's obligation for funding new and expanded Medicaid programs under the federal health care law.

Today nearly one in nine Nebraskans are enrolled in Medicaid. The expansion of Medicaid in the federal law is predicted to add 107,000 to 145,000 newly eligible Nebraskans to the program, with costs estimated to range from $526 million to $766 million.

The bottom line is that with full participation, approximately one in every five Nebraskans would be enrolled in Medicaid within 10 years.

This analysis confirms that the federal health care law is an extraordinarily large and excessive unfunded mandate for states. It confirms that this law has potentially devastating consequences for our state budget.

Medicaid is already one of state government's largest funding commitments. The law requires states to make additional funding commitment, which will be potentially devastating to the state budget. This unfunded mandate could reduce funding for the education of our children.

We balance our state budget and our residents balance their family and household budgets. This is not the way that Nebraska does business.

It is why Nebraska has joined with 20 other states in a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. The individual mandate contained in the federal health care law requiring that every citizen purchase health insurance is an unfair requirement. The unfunded mandate on state governments to pay for the federal government's expansion of Medicaid is equally unjust and unfair.

I have said many times, this federal health care law is bad news for Nebraska and bad news for America. The results of this analysis are a first look at how bad. It is unacceptable and unfair to Nebraskans.

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Why isn't a great idea to pay for the majority. We are what - 1.6 million out of 350 million...Approximately .005 % of the nations population (Don't quote) and we will cost share equally for all citizens? Not only that but it is being crammed down our throats...tastes great. I think I am gonna need a chaser.

-- Posted by cplcac on Sat, Aug 21, 2010, at 2:15 AM

If we legalized marijuana in Nebraska and quit paying law enforcement to lock up otherwise law abiding citizens, while simultaneously taxing this harmless plant. We would be able to provide state wide medical care while not having to worry about the current projected budget shortfall.

As I understand it Gov. Heineman has already expressed contempt for this plan however. Not based on any kind of scientific reasons, but for personal ones that I'm not aware of.

-- Posted by Damu on Sat, Aug 21, 2010, at 8:47 PM

Ok Ben, what do you have to say about this? I agree with Damu, legalize it and tax it and do the same with Prostitution.

-- Posted by salamat on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 9:54 AM

Good one salamat, I'll agree with the prostitution part, but unlike prostitution pot can be grown in anyones basement or backyard. Do you really think they'll report their pot production to the feds? Wait, maybe I was wrong about the prosititution part!

-- Posted by remington81 on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 12:56 PM

@Remington81 Do people report making alcohol at home to the feds?

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 7:01 PM

Why are we stopping with weed? Legalize all of them! Short of that, go after the users.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Mon, Aug 30, 2010, at 10:12 PM

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Gov. Dave Heineman
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