GOP study: Medicaid expansion will cost states billions

Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will cost states conservatively at least $118 billion through 2023--far more than what initially was estimated, according to a report released by House and Senate Republicans Tuesday during a House committee hearing on Medicaid and state health reform.

Medicaid currently covers nearly 54 million Americans, but the Administration's chief health actuary has estimated that expansions included in the law could increase the nation's Medicaid rosters by at least 20 million beginning in 2014, said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

The expansion will cost the states at least $60 billion between 2010 and 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This number is three times higher than CBO's original estimate of $20 billion over a similar time period, Upton said.

Governors soon will be "forced with the choice to either cut state spending in other priority areas or to increase taxes" to pay for the federally required expansion of the Medicaid program, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) told this panel. He said that states "need the flexibility and authority to craft innovative programs" to provide medical care to its "neediest citizens."

However, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) said that through the retooled Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs, state taxpayers could save about $450 million a year while providing "better care to our youngest and more vulnerable residents."

For more details:
- here's the report (.pdf)
- see the House Energy and Commerce Committee statements