While states debate expanding their Medicaid programs under Obamacare, they’re wrestling with a looming 2017 deadline — when their taxpayers begin paying for the cost of the expansion.
Beginning in 2014, states that agree to expand Medicaid to persons with incomes of up to 138 percent of the poverty line will have the federal government pay 100 percent of the cost. But beginning in 2017, the federal share will fall to 95 percent, and it drops to 90 percent in 2020.
This has officials — many of them in Republican-dominated states across the country — worried that they will not be able to avoid the spiraling costs.
“It’s not like we have $78 million sitting on the shelf,” Utah state Rep. Jim Dunnigan, a Republican skeptic of Medicaid expansion, told The Washington Times.
In Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is touting Medicaid expansion as a way to expand health insurance to 58,000 additional people in his state. But Herbert and other GOP governors looking to expand the program are laboring to find ways to offset the additional costs their taxpayers would have to pay.