Paying for Medicaid: How will NH do it?EDITORIAL
July 16. 2014 10:51PM
Obamacare has been increasing New Hampshire Medicaid costs for six months, well before the start of the state’s Medicaid expansion. The price of ignoring math is going to be high.
Since January, Medicaid enrollment in New Hampshire has increased by 11,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. As New Hampshire Public Radio put it, an “unexpected surge in Medicaid enrollments during the past six months is putting pressure on the state’s budget.”
But the increase was not unexpected. Obamacare’s individual mandate compels people to obtain insurance coverage, either by buying insurance or going on a government program such as Medicaid. As we have noted in this space repeatedly over the last several years, that will drive a lot of people to sign up for what they perceive as “free” Medicaid coverage.
The individual mandate officially took effect on Jan. 1 of this year. Presto — 11,000 new Medicaid enrollees in six months!
The state has to pay 50 percent of the costs for these new enrollees. The state’s Medicaid budget is already $37 million in the red. From where will the money come?
Responsible critics of Obamacare have asked that question for years. Obamacare supporters Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster have ignored the cost issue. Now the state has to deal with it, and there is no money in the budget to do that.
This all happened before New Hampshire expanded Medicaid eligibility from 63 percent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, an expansion the state cannot pay for when Washington’s 100 percent funding starts to drop in three years.
As the state continues to irresponsibly expand benefits it cannot finance, the pressure for a broadbased tax rises.