When Sen. Pogemiller and Sen. Berglin visited St. Cloud last week during the DFL post-session flyaround, she talked repeatedly about how Minnesota would get $7.45 back for every Minnesota dollar spent on Medicaid expansion. Meanwhile, the Rochester Post Bulletin criticized Republicans for not accepting that money:

Clinic lobbyist Frank Iossi said Mayo Clinic and Mayo Health System stand to lose $20 million to $25 million a year because lawmakers chose not to enroll in an expanded Medicaid program available at the federal level. On top of that, he said hospitals had agreed to a 2-percent rate cut and to delay rebasing, which reassesses Medicaid rates, in order to get the Medicaid expansion. But while those additional cuts went through, the Medicaid expansion got bogged down in political wrangling.

“Hospitals paid for the state’s share of early enrollment in Medicaid but didn’t get it,” Iossi said.

In total, Iossi said the 2-percent cut will cost hospitals statewide $44 million, and roughly a $6.6 million cut for Mayo Clinic and Mayo Health System. The rebasing delay also amounts to an estimated $100 million loss for hospitals statewide.

What the Mayo Clinic isn’t mentioning is that there are some expensive strings attached to that money. Since the article ran, I’ve done some digging into what’s attached to the fed’s money. Here’s just a few things attached:

First off, ObamaCare doesn’t guarantee that the federal money will be there after 2014. That means the states might be left with the entire cost of MA or having to kick people off health care coverage.

Even with the federal government paying a larger share, there is still an increased cost to the state for moving more people onto MA (in Minnesota, we’d have to come up with another $1 billion next biennium as we push 100,000 people into the program). If you’re like Minnesota, your state doesn’t have the extra cash laying around!

The early MA provision imposes NO residency requirement: if you’re income eligible, all you need to do is indicate you “intend” to live in the state. So, if your state gets into this before neighboring states, you can imagine the flood of welfare recipients who will come looking for ObamaCare in your state at your taxpayers’ expense.

It’s time the MNGOP started telling people that we can’t afford the ‘free money’ from Obamacare. There’s no such thing as free money. It always comes with strings attached. Except with this administration, there aren’t strings attached, there’s cables attached.

When Sen. Berglin made it sound too good to be true, red flags went off. It turns out I was right. It was too good to be true. Now I know what parts were too good to be believed.

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One Response to “Health Care Facts The DFL Omitted”

  • Paul Thissen says:

    Here are the facts.

    1. We already pay for 82,000 single adults that would be covered under the new Medicaid option at a cost of $1.2 billion. those are unmatched, state only dollars. No one in either party has proposed that we elimate coverage for those individuals. So we will be paying $1.2 billion whether we take the option it not.

    Under the Medicaid option, an additional 10,000 to 20,000 individuals would get coverage because there is no 4 month waiting period under Medicaid as there is under MNCare among other things. Those additional people will cost up to $188 million.

    So with the Medicaid option, the $1.2 billion we are already spending gets matched by the Feds. Because it becomes a Medicaid program instead of MNCare which (as I said) has a waiting period, 10,000-20,000 more folks are projected to become eligible so the stare share increases somewhat. Hence the additional $188 million. But with that $188 million comes $1.4 billion in federal dollars which primarily go to higher reimbursement rates for hospitals, clinics and drs which in turnmeand those folks won’t be passing on the cost of their losses for treating uninsured and undercompensating patients on to those of us fortunate to have insurance.

    As to the residency requirement, it is essentially the same as most current programs exc a bit shorter than Mn Care. As a result, the Gov Pawlenty’s Dept of Human Services expects zero additional enrollment as a result.

    There is a legitimate debate to be had about many aspectsof the federal health care reform. But this is not one if them. It involves none of the mandates, etc that has been tagged with the name Obamacare. This is simply using a 40 year old federal program for a new population of childless adults who make under $700 per month. Wisconsin and other states already do this (indeed the MN House Republicans promoted this idea last year because it made such financial sense).

    In short, unless someone proposes that we eliminate coverage for the 82,000 Minnesotans we’re already paying for, the simple fact is that we draw down an additional $1.4 billion for our hospitals for an additional investment of $188 million.

    Thank you for your willingness to engage in these political and policy discussions

    State Rep Paul Thissen

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