Study: Medicaid costs will rise with or without expansion

Federal spending will go up dramatically even if not a single state opts into expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act, reported Kaiser Health News.

A new study by researchers from the Urban Institute concluded that state Medicaid costs would rise $68 billion over the next decade even if no state decided to participate in Medicaid expansion.

About a dozen states, most with Republican governors, have expressed reluctance to opt into the Medicaid expansion or build state insurance exchanges. The ACA still makes those residents eligible for Medicaid regardless of whether states decide to accept federal funding for their coverage, according to Kaiser Health News.

However, if all states were to opt into the Medicaid expansion, they could save $18 billion in uncompensated care costs over the next decade, according to the report.

"States are deciding whether to expand the Medicaid program, and they clearly will be balancing improvements in coverage against new costs for states," Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured said Monday in a statement.

"While some states will see net savings, others will need to weigh the trade-offs between small increases in state spending in return for large gains in coverage supported by mostly federal dollars," she said.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the Urban Institute report (.pdf) and statement