Higher mortality rates and higher taxpayer costs are two probable outcomes of Medicaid expansion in Virginia, a new report warns.
Rebutting a Commonwealth Institute study that forecast a financial windfall, State Budget Solutions, a government-reform think tank, found that “Medicaid has fallen short of delivering proper health care to low-income residents, and other expansions of Medicaid have fallen short of delivering the promised cost savings.”
Watchdog.org reports that Virginia is one of the last states to decide how it will respond to the Affordable Care Act mandate to broaden health coverage. The Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission is scheduled to meet Oct. 15 in Richmond to take public testimony on the matter.
The commission will recommend whether to add as many as 400,000 low-income Virginians to the Medicaid rolls.
Other states that expanded their Medicaid programs have floundered. Attempting to contain higher-than-expected costs, Oregon resorted to a lottery in 2008 to choose who would get coverage.
Since then, the Obama administration has promised states billions of additional federal dollars to offset expenses.
Proponents of expansion in Virginia, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, suggest that the federal largess could fund additional, unrelated programs while boosting the economy.
Arizona’s experience proved otherwise.
Rather than saving millions per year, per-capita costs jumped. Instead of decreasing, the uninsured rate ticked upward. Private insurance enrollment dipped and Medicaid enrollment soared, due to the so-called “uptake” effect.