FICTION No. 3:
"In Louisiana, Medicaid expansion will cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in only ten years." [Press conference call with Bruce Greenstein, Feb. 26, 2013]
The governor fails to acknowledge the savings to the state that would accrue if Louisiana expands Medicaid.
Reduction of $267 million in uncompensated care costs. [The Cost and Coverage Implications of the ACA Medicaid Expansion by Kaiser Foundation, November 2012 ]
o Uncompensated care costs are borne not only by the state but even more by the hospitals. These costs put a financial strain on hospitals and other health care providers. Uncompensated care also raises health care costs for everyone else, as these costs are passed onto those with private insurance.
o It has been estimated that each family pays an annual "hidden health care tax" of $1,000 to cover these costs. [Hidden Health Tax: Americans Pay a Premium, Washington: Families USA, 2009]
o Medicaid expansion would dramatically reduce uncompensated care, and help shore up not only the state's budget but also the budgets of the hospitals in Louisiana.
Expanding Medicaid would increase state revenue as a result of increased jobs and economic activity in the state. [Kaiser Family Foundation, April 2010]
The state would also see reductions in other public health service expenditures as a result of expanding Medicaid. [Families USA and Louisiana Consumer Healthcare Coalition, Feb. 26, 2013]
The Governor also fails to mention that by refusing to expand Medicaid he is not being fair to Louisiana taxpayers whose federal tax dollars would simply be going to other states and not returned to Louisiana.
FICTION No. 4:
"To fix Medicaid, we must target several areas for reform. They include eligibility, benefit design, cost-sharing, use of the private insurance market, financing and accountability." [Office of the Governor press release, Feb. 26, 2013]
When the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved Louisiana's Medicaid waiver for Bayou Health, Gov. Jindal claimed it would update Louisiana's Medicaid system.
Gov. Jindal can use the same flexibility to add Louisianians that need basic health care into Bayou Health.
Other governors, including Republican John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Scott of Florida have come out to publicly champion expansion because they found a willing partner in HHS to work on flexibility, the same kind of flexibility that Gov. Jindal says he wants. [Reuters, Feb. 4, 2013; USA TODAY, Feb. 20, 2013]
o "The federal health department has committed to working with us to ensure we have all the flexibilities we need to make Medicaid best meet the needs of Floridians," Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Feb. 20, 2013.
FICTION No. 5:
If Medicaid expands, there will be 187,000 people in Louisiana who drop private coverage to take Medicaid. [Press conference call with Bruce Greenstein, Feb. 26, 2013]
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has a documented history of exaggerating numbers in an attempt to mislead the public about health care reform.
For example, the Jindal Administration used to claim that Medicaid expansion would cost the state $3.7 billion. [Louisiana Impact Estimate of federal health care reform 2010 by DHH Sec. Alan Levine]
Now the Governor says just over $1 billion, which more closely matches the estimates by Kaiser and Urban Institute, which provide nonpartisan, highly respected health care analysis. [The Cost and Coverage Implications of the ACA Medicaid Expansion by Kaiser Foundation, November 2012 ]
It took the Jindal Administration two years to revise their final estimate to be more in line with nonpartisan analysis. This case is no different. The Administration claims a crowd-out of 187,000, and a Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and Uninsured report estimates only 88,000.