State budgets are still under stress because revenues are not growing fast enough to replace the funding from the federal stimulus program. And now states are being pressured to expand Medicaid.
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, Medicaid will account for 23.9 percent of total state expenditures in fiscal 2012. In most states, able-bodied working age adults are not eligible for Medicaid. One of the pillars of ObamaCare was the provision requiring states to either expand Medicaid to everyone with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (plus a five percent income set-aside) or lose all of their federal matching funds. This provision was struck down by the Supreme Court.
But state governments are still being pressured to expand Medicaid, even though estimates suggest that more than 25 percent of people in the expansion group have private health coverage and that a sizeable fraction of them are college students. The federal government promises to pay 100 percent of Medicaid medical costs for the first three years of the expansion, and 90 percent of them in 2020 and thereafter. A variety of interest groups think that it would be a shame to leave this “free” money on the table.