Some States Find Burdens in Health Law

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because of the new health care law, Arizona lawmakers must now find a way to maintain insurance coverage for 350,000 children and adults that they slashed just last week to help close a $2.6 billion budget deficit.

Louisiana officials say a reduction in federal money to hospitals that treat the uninsured under the bill could be a death knell for their state-run charity hospital system.

In California, policymakers estimate they will have to come up with an additional $500 million a year to make necessary increases in payments to Medicaid providers.

Across the country, state officials are wading through the minutiae of the health care overhaul to understand just how their governments will be affected. Even with much still to be digested, it is clear the law may be as much of a burden to some state budgets as it is a boon to uninsured consumers.

States with the largest uninsured populations, like Texas and California, might be considered by its backers the biggest winners to emerge from the law, because so many additional residents will have access to health insurance. But because those states are being required to significantly expand their Medicaid programs, they are precisely the ones that will face the biggest financial strains, in many cases magnified by existing budget shortfalls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState GovernmentThe 2010 Obama Administration Health Care Bill

13 Comments
Posted March 28, 2010 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br. Michael wrote:

Basically the Federal Government has commandeered the States to administer a Federal program at State expense.

March 28, 7:07 am | [comment link]
2. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Let me see if I understand. This government intrusion into health care at every level was written by a committee whose chairman said he didn’t understand it and passed by a Congress that didn’t read it. Signed by a President who smokes, it is to be administered by a rather obese Surgeon General, funded by a Secretary of the Treasury who didn’t pay his taxes, and financed by a nation that’s broke.

How could there be problems cropping up so soon?

March 28, 7:21 am | [comment link]
3. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Whatever happened to the issue of “unfunded mandates” and the law/principles of Constitutional government involved with that “issue?”

Laws proposed/passed that contained “unfunded mandates” were ‘hot button’ and ‘third rail’ issues not too long ago.

March 28, 7:23 am | [comment link]
4. Br. Michael wrote:

I think the Congress decided to ignore them along with the rest of the Constitution (that old 4 page document that no one reads anymore).

March 28, 7:38 am | [comment link]
5. Knapsack wrote:

Br. Michael at #1, you’ve pegged it, with the additional point that instead of a tax increase out on the table, it’s being paid for not just by borrowed money from the federal government (which can) to the states (which can’t, but now have no choice but to take the borrowed money to meet new federal requirements), but much of the cost of what the legislation creates is paid by hugely increased premiums from middle income working families and charges to corporations.  The current party in charge is only too happy to not have to own the tax increases necessary to pay for this approach, so they were almost certainly never, ever wanting a public option at this step.  They want the costs coming at families like mine through the insurance companies, hoping that we will be so distracted by all the smoke and mirrors that our ire will focus on the insurance companies, and then we’ll be ignorant enough to see that created crisis as reason to beg the government to take over all health care costs directly.

And the job killing impact on companies, the demonization of a low profit business field (health care insurance) and of anyone making more than $250,000, the indirect contempt & sneaky backhand shots at families simply making $88,000 . . . sigh.

Time to refocus on Holy Week, I know.

March 28, 8:07 am | [comment link]
6. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Why waste a good crisis?  Extend it, manipulate it, expand it, and legislate it into continuance for future usage.  Do note the nuance.

March 28, 8:15 am | [comment link]
7. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

The states should do nothing.  They didn’t write this garbage legislation, most of their people don’t want it, and there was no provision to pay for it.

The states should just sit back and let the Federal Gov.t implement the law that they passed…from soup to nuts.  Let the Feds be responsible for collecting the money to run this ridiculous program, using Fed workers.  Let the Feds pay the personnel payroll for enforcement at every doctor’s office and every hospital.  Let the Feds do it all.

We’ll see how long this lasts if half the population just ignores it.

March 28, 8:26 am | [comment link]
8. Vatican Watcher wrote:

My brothers and sisters, I bid you all to take heart and remember well that this entire crisis will be over sooner rather than later.  Foreign investors have already started the process by refusing to buy up US debt without higher yields.  The looming period of hyperinflation and the devaluation of the dollar is almost at hand.  Pray.  Pray that your communities may survive as the United States becomes a third world economy.

(Okay, maybe that was a bit apocalyptic, but even so…)

March 28, 10:34 am | [comment link]
9. William P. Sulik wrote:

Br. Michael, #4, its just an “historical document” and has no other meaning.  Y’know, like the Thirty-Nine Articles?

Also, I am very intrigued, as a parent of a daughter about to turn 21, that insurance companies are now being forced to extend coverage to all children on parents policies until they turn 26, whether or not they are in school.  I’m still not sure what to think about this.

March 28, 12:54 pm | [comment link]
10. Vatican Watcher wrote:

9. Mr. Sulik, consider also that in this /health care/ bill, the US government has also nationalized the student loan process.  Young adults looking to go on to post-secondary education are living in very interesting times.  I am glad I am not one of them.

March 28, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
11. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“The states should do nothing.”

An interesting idea.  If the states ignore the new law and continue to operate under the old law citing Constitutionality and “unfunded mandates” as a justification for their behavior, then the federal government will either continue payments to the states or REFUSE PAYMENTS to the states.

If the federal government refuses payments, they, the federal elected and appointed officials, become the villains in the eyes of many average citizens.

It would be sort of a “jiu jit su” move, deflecting the impetous/momentum of the federal government back onto that government by the state governments.

This is just an ‘analytical thought’ and not a ‘proposal’ on my part.

March 28, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
12. Catholic Mom wrote:

Vatican Watcher—not sure what you mean by “nationalized” the student loan process.  Banks can loan students all the money they can convince them to borrow.  What they can’t do is loan them money that the Federal Government is guaranteeing—in effect, the government’s money—and then keep the profits.  That’s a sweet deal we’d all love to have, yes?  I loan you money—if you pay it back, I keep the profits but if you default, the government takes the loss.  Nice!  But a tad illogical.  The entity that takes the risk should get the rewards—in this case the federal government now does both, thus saving (or making, if you will) a great deal of money.

March 28, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
13. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

The entity that takes the risk should get the rewards—in this case the federal government now does both, thus saving (or making, if you will) a great deal of money.

Yes, but if you don’t pay, banks could never send armed agents to your house in the middle of the night, break down your door, and drag you off to jail while your horrified family watches .  Government can do that (and has).  So, where is there a risk to the government?  They can garnish wages for the life of the debtor, with no reprieve.  They can also put you to work in Prison Industries (UNICOR), working for low wages akin to the worst Chinese sweatshops ($0.23 to $1.15 per hour), until you repay them.  By the way, most folks don’t realize it, but slavery is perfectly legal for the Federal Government to engage in, so long as the slave is a criminal.

The Thirteenth Amendment
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

So back to the point…what risk is the government taking that entitles them to a reward when they loan money to students?  They can garnish the wages of that student until they pay back every cent.  If the student somehow stops paying, they can be put in prison and forced to work until the debt is paid off.

The only possible risk I can see is that the student/debtor might die before the debt is repaid.  It’s possible that the government could eventually go after the family or the “estate” to pay the debt.

March 28, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
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