Health care reform: Some states are more equal than others

One of the features of the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform bill is vastly expanding Medicaid coverage at the state level.

As usual, the feds refuse to fully fund this expansion thus leaving states holding the bag and forcing them to come up with the additional funding on their own.

That is, unless you have some pull in the Senate. Kim Strassell writing in the Wall Street Journal:

A central feature of the Baucus bill is the vast expansion of state Medicaid programs. This is necessary, we are told, to cover more of the nation's uninsured. The provision has angered governors, since the federal government will cover only part of the expansion and stick fiscally strapped states with an additional $37 billion in costs. The "states, with our financial challenges right now, are not in a position to accept additional Medicaid responsibilities," griped Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

Poor Mr. Strickland. If only he lived in . . . Nevada! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is worried about losing his seat next year, worked out a deal by which the federal government will pay all of his home state's additional Medicaid expenses for the next five years. Under the majority leader's very special formula, only three other states-Oregon, Rhode Island and Michigan-qualify for this perk, on the grounds, as Mr. Reid put it recently on the Senate floor, that they "are suffering more than most."

Tell that to Mr. Strickland, who is still trying to figure out how to close an $850 million budget hole, in a state with near 11% unemployment. And tell it to Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who quipped: "I wonder how citizens in Wyoming, in California and Florida and other states will feel if they pay more taxes so that Nevadans can pay less taxes."

That's not all. The bill will also slap a 40% tax on those "cadillac" insurance plans that cost more than $21,000 a year.

That is, unless you live in Massachusetts and other highly unionized states where those "cadilllac" plans benefit union members. Then the threshold goes up to $25,000.

No wonder they don't want anyone reading the fine print on these bills.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky




One of the features of the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform bill is vastly expanding Medicaid coverage at the state level.

As usual, the feds refuse to fully fund this expansion thus leaving states holding the bag and forcing them to come up with the additional funding on their own.

That is, unless you have some pull in the Senate. Kim Strassell writing in the Wall Street Journal:

A central feature of the Baucus bill is the vast expansion of state Medicaid programs. This is necessary, we are told, to cover more of the nation's uninsured. The provision has angered governors, since the federal government will cover only part of the expansion and stick fiscally strapped states with an additional $37 billion in costs. The "states, with our financial challenges right now, are not in a position to accept additional Medicaid responsibilities," griped Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

Poor Mr. Strickland. If only he lived in . . . Nevada! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is worried about losing his seat next year, worked out a deal by which the federal government will pay all of his home state's additional Medicaid expenses for the next five years. Under the majority leader's very special formula, only three other states-Oregon, Rhode Island and Michigan-qualify for this perk, on the grounds, as Mr. Reid put it recently on the Senate floor, that they "are suffering more than most."

Tell that to Mr. Strickland, who is still trying to figure out how to close an $850 million budget hole, in a state with near 11% unemployment. And tell it to Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who quipped: "I wonder how citizens in Wyoming, in California and Florida and other states will feel if they pay more taxes so that Nevadans can pay less taxes."

That's not all. The bill will also slap a 40% tax on those "cadillac" insurance plans that cost more than $21,000 a year.

That is, unless you live in Massachusetts and other highly unionized states where those "cadilllac" plans benefit union members. Then the threshold goes up to $25,000.

No wonder they don't want anyone reading the fine print on these bills.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky