Taxpayers Ultimately Get the Bill for Oregon’s Medicaid Expansion

CascadeNewLogoBy Thomas Tullis

Thirty states have already undertaken the Medicaid expansion encouraged by the Affordable Care Act. In Oregon, more than one in 4 people are now enrolled in Medicaid. Enrollment is nearly twice as high as originally thought, and now lawmakers are looking at a half-billion-dollar state deficit after grossly miscalculating the projection.

In an attempt to reconcile the $300 million Cover Oregon fiasco, the Kitzhaber administration had centered in on fast-track Medicaid enrollment. Oregonians were incentivized and encouraged to sign up for Medicaid, with ObamaCare extending the eligibility requirements to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

With the expansion’s 76% increase in monthly enrollment, Oregon’s growth is second only to Kentucky’s. While many states have not expanded and have seen little to no growth in enrollment, Oregon boasts some of the highest percentages of average annual growth in Medicaid spending over the last few years.

As the federal government will soon require Oregon and other states to be responsible for part of Medicaid costs, lawmakers are already talking about increasing the nearly two-billion-dollar bipartisan hospital tax that Governor Kate Brown signed in March.

Health insurance policy is in desperate need of market-based reforms. A competitive free market can ensure quality and affordability. Government handouts and regulations simply drive up costs that in this case will be borne by taxpayers.

Thomas Tullis is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank. He is a student at the University of Oregon, where he is studying Journalism and Political Science.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Government Spending, Health & Human Services, Health Care Reform, Oregon Government, Oregon Health Authority, State Budget, State Government | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    The required hospital tax makes it rather unaffordable policy to begin with. And no doubt there will be a big push back by hospitals and insurance companies, noting health insurance companies were actually encouraged to raise their premiums by the Oregon Health authorities most recently.

    In Kitzhaber 1 back in the late 90s and early oughts we saw the same unraveling of the Oregon Health Plan where initially a lot of folks were enrolled; but then the reality of stricter state finances caused the Oregon Health Plan to revert back to Demo care: which is quota systems and lines; and in its case: a lottery rationing scheme.

    So, the Dems say to us: You think prices are too high? We’ll cap’m for you. Problem solved…only it is just a shell game where you get denied service ultimately, instead.

    Folks actually eventually have to earn enough to support themselves mostly, or we all get slow walked to a Greek or Soviet implosion. The so-called equity/poorer solution.

    • lo and behold

      No truer words spoken, save for left wing socialists apparent David Appell and Eric Blair despising common sense therein lies.

      • DavidAppell

        Io: Why should you get all the socialism? You like your’s just fine, but resent any going to anyone else.

    • DavidAppell

      Here are some actual data for you Bob, since you never provide any of your own:

      “On indicators of efficiency, the U.S. ranks last among the 11 countries, with the U.K. and Sweden ranking first and second, respectively.”

      — “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally,” The Commonwealth Fund

      • H’Lo

        Oh you marginal kidder, Lois Lane, ‘clubbed’ reporter for the DNC Planet of New Whorld Al Gore Order with rooting’s in ISISlam slicing and dicing anything that impedes in their rite of way.

        • DavidAppell

          Ignoring data. Why am I not surprised?

        • DavidAppell

          Why are you people so obsessed with Al Gore? He communicates science, he doesn’t create it.

          • Snopes Hello Odd U Odd fallow

            Ha! Gore Kiss his wife’s far-gone asserts, D’Apple treatise bower Rover Plover.

  • thevillageidiot

    apparently the dummycrat earned the dummy portion of the name. anybody who read even the worst case highlights of obummercare knew that the rate of government reimbursement for medicaid would decrease to where the state would have to cover 90%. come to Oregon for the free medical care (cover Oregon) and now the taxpayers who elected the dummycrats will have to pay more in taxes than ever before just to cover the shortfall. the legislators will not cut make any budget cuts to cover the short fall. course this means all the republicuns as well. They all used medicaid to buy votes. This will also be extended to the PERS. for those of you who say the guaranteed 8% was only for the tier 1 retirement eventually 80%of retirees will be tier 1 entitles. It is currently 60% with another 20% tier 1 still working only 20% of PERS recipients are other than tier 1. the PERS is so far underfunded for the 80% there can only be an increase of taxes or reduced services. expect fewer services so PERS can payout benefits at an unsustainable rate. and just for those who have to have proof of the figures published by our very own and very honest and transparent government.

    • HBguy

      Actually, the State pays 10% of the expanded medicare cost starting next year. The feds did pick up 100%, they will be down to 90% starting next year.
      The argument is that is a good trade off to get that much additional coverage for that many more Oregonians who otherwise wouldn’t have insurance. After all, they go to the ER anyway, and those uninsured costs would be passed on to those of us who do pay for insurance. With the expansion, the Feds are picking up 90% of that cost and it’s not being passed onto us through insurance increases.

    • Eric Blair

      And even more eventually, 0% of retirees will be tier 1.

      • Cull the in$anity

        Butt publix sucking COLA’s wherein the private sector cannot go, ewe Judas horny ‘tard.

        • COLA’s sugar like illegals

          …COLA’S [swill continue] wherein…

    • Eric Blair

      Where did you get the idea that the state of Oregon would have to pay 90% of Medicaid? This might explain why some people don’t like the ACA… they don’t understand it.

      • DavidAppell

        Right. She has it exactly backwards, and doesn’t even seem to realize it.

  • redbean

    True story. A young Oregonian with income near the federal poverty level (FPL) was ineligible for an ACA subsidy on a “marketplace” policy because Oregon “offered” (i.e. required) Medicaid for those making 138% of FPL.

    This person needs the private policy to continue seeing the providers who know them best. Their providers are small business owners who can’t take Medicaid patients and stay in business due to the inadequate reimbursement and restrictions on therapies allowed. This young person with medical needs is now paying full price for their private ACA policy because the Oregon Medicaid plan doesn’t meet their needs. Oregon still put them on Medicaid due to their low income, even though they have the private policy. This person is paying 20% of their income for health insurance. Thanks, Oregon!

    • Eric Blair

      True story. My daughter in law, who couldn’t afford health care, and would only go to the emergency room when absolutely necesary, now goes to the doctor and is healthier.

      • redbean

        That’s nice. Absolutely no connection to my post, though.

  • DavidAppell

    More enrollment is a *good* thing — it means more people getting the health they need.

    Thomas, how do you feel about the $250 billion in tax credits the US gives to employees who have employer-sponsored health insurance plans? Or do you think tax credits are free?

    “Government’s hand has long shaped and subsidized health-care markets, for example, in Medicare and Medicaid (which dominate how medical care is organized and delivered in America, even for care that falls outside their reach), or the requirement that hospitals treat urgent care needs of indigents.

    “But perhaps the most consequential subsidy is rarely mentioned or even noticed: Government for decades has directly subsidized individuals’ costs of employer-based health care, to the tune of roughly $250 billion every year – sums far greater than the annual costs of the subsidized insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

    “The huge health-care subsidy everyone is ignoring,” Edward Kleinbard, Washington Post, October 15, 2013.

    • Eric Blair

      LOL.. I’m pretty sure I could hear heads exploding.

  • HealthcaresucksintheUS

    “Health insurance policy is in desperate need of market-based reforms. A competitive free market can ensure quality and affordability. ”

    OMG! That’s maybe the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! There was a time when hospitals and doctors where “not for profit “. Doctors still made good money and hospitals had enough money to operate . Now we have “the market place ” version where investors need to make a profit and my insurance costs have more than doubled.

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