Three guesses who is turning backflips at this news. It’s the freshman Republicans, who were facing the prospect of (a) voting for a $7 billion spending bill or (b) telling their hometown doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare providers to go fly a kite.
This is a no-brainer. The federal government would cover 100% of the cost of coverage for the 2014-2015 budget cycle. The state would have to put up $50.4 million to cover half of the administrative costs of the expansion. In return, the federal aid over the next two fiscal years would be $4 billion, according to the LBB. The state in its next budget would bear just 1.2% of the cost of the expansion.
This would bring to an end a shameful era in which the state’s leaders did absolutely nothing to help people without health insurance and sent them instead to hospital emergency rooms, the most expensive care there is. This is the way the Legislature has handled health care for decades, under D’s and R’s alike. It was a hidden tax increase on property owners that pushed the cost onto local taxpayers instead of state taxpayers.
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