The Republican governors who, deep down, opposed using Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion money simply because they hate the idea of President Obama and other Democrats succeeding with implementing any legislation of any kind have been acting in a less than warmly attractive bipartisan spirit.
But, at the same time, those governors raised two important questions: How stable will the federal Medicaid expansion funding really be? And, even with the help of various PPACA provisions intended to increase the supply of health care providers, how prepared is the Medicaid provider community to care for an influx of people with new Medicaid coverage?
Will PPACA improve the health of the new Medicaid enrollees enough to offset any additional care they may now use because they have coverage, rather than go through life uninsured?
The Kaiser Family Foundation has come out with a new report on PPACA and Medicaid spending. In that report, analysts show that Medicaid enrollment and Medicaid spending are likely to increase about 18 percent in federal fiscal year 2015, which started Oct. 1.
The analysts found that enrollment will go up just 5.2 percent in states that rejected Medicaid expansion money. In those states, total spending will increase 6.5 percent, the analysts say.
On the one hand, from the perspective of someone who’s open to the idea that it’s reasonable for the government to get involved with paying for health care for poor people, it seems as if Medicaid expansion is a worthy experiment. The only way to find out whether Medicaid expansion really saves the country, as a whole, money or improves the quality of care poor people get is to try it. Certainly, whether a state manages to use extra Medicaid money to get more of its poor uninsured people covered is an indicator of that state’s fitness to govern itself.