ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion Will Cost California an Additional $1.2 Billion
“Nearly one-third of California’s total population – roughly 11.5 million people – will be enrolled in Medi-Cal next year, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration,” reports the L.A. Times.
“Enrollment is expected to exceed previous estimates by 1.4 million, and administration officials said it would cost the state $1.2 billion more than originally thought.”
Brown’s health policy czar calls the jump in enrollment part of the “woodworking effect;” meaning that the media’s attention on ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges enticed many people to sign up, only to find out they already qualified for Medi-Cal (California’s name for its Medicaid program).
Readers may recall that ObamaCare expands eligibility for Medicaid into higher income brackets. To get states to go along, ObamaCare pays for all of the new spending associated with covering these new enrollees (at least until 2017). But for those who would have qualified under the old system – where states contribute 50 cents to every dollar spent – the state gets no relief.
This is the scenario California finds itself in as officials head into the budget negotiation season needing to find an additional $1.4 billion they didn’t plan for.
Ever the populist, Brown is reframing Sacramento’s miscalculation as a case of voters needing to fund their good intentions. “I’m proud we did it,” referring to the expansion as “a huge social commitment on the part of the taxpayers of California.” “But we also have to take into account this thing is growing.”