States opting out of Medicaid expansion will pay financial price

States that refuse to accept funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are financially shooting themselves in the foot, reported the Washington Post.

According to a study by the RAND Corp. think tank, states that forego Medicaid expansion dollars will lose out on $8.4 billion in federal funds, and spend an additional $1 billion on uncompensated care in 2016 than they would have spent by not expanding the program.

In Kansas, providers will have to bear disproportionate share funding cuts but not receive additional Medicaid dollars. That means systems such as the money-losing Via Christi Health will have about $7 million of red ink added to its bottom line next year, reported the Wichita Eagle.

But some states, such as South Carolina, say they would have to spend money to get that money--specifically, the 10 percent on the Medicaid program to get the 90% of federal funding starting in 2016.

"It's like walking into a store with no money in your pocket, and you see something you want or need for 50 percent off. It's a great deal, but you have to come up with the money," South Carolina Health & Human Services Director Tony Keck told the South Carolina State newspaper. "If it's 10 percent or 5 percent, the state has to be able to come up with that money."

Another state that has taken a hard line against Medicaid expansion, Tennessee, allows small eligibility expansions through an irregular process not dissimilar to a lottery, which was recently featured in a Daily Show sendup.

To learn more:
here's the Rand Corp. Medicaid study announcement 
- read the State
- read the Wichita Eagle article
- read the Washington Post article
- watch the Daily Show video