Media Trackers Florida Hypes Outdated Cost Estimate To Attack Medicaid Expansion
Research ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI
Right-wing organization Media Trackers Florida called support for Medicaid expansion "leftist Florida advocacy" by hyping misleading claims about the cost of expansion. However, the cost estimate used by Media Trackers failed to take into account millions of dollars in savings while insuring almost one million Floridians.
Media Trackers: Medicaid Expansion Will Be Very Costly For Florida Taxpayers
Media Trackers: "Medicaid Expansion Would Cost Approximately $50 Billion During The First 10 Years Alone." A September 19 Media Trackers Florida article claimed that Medicaid expansion would be costly for Florida because expansion would cost $50 billion during the first 10 years by linking to one of its previous articles which noted that cost estimate:
Medicaid expansion is a key component of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The individual states have the right to determine whether they will participate in the costly Medicaid expansion. In Florida, Medicaid expansion would cost approximately $50 billion during the first 10 years alone. This would add to the state's $26 billion debt and the federal government's $17 trillion debt. [Media Trackers, 9/18/13; Media Trackers, 3/5/13]
But That Cost Analysis Was Updated And Contains More State Savings
Health News Florida: Report Found "More Than $430 Million In Yearly Savings For Florida Taxpayers." According to an April 12 article on Health News Florida, the Medicaid director at Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) said that a state budget analysis missed the more than "$430 million in yearly savings." The article continued:
But the House does not want to accept the federal funds, which legislative budget analysts estimate would amount to more than $50 billion over a decade. The first three years of expanded coverage would be fully federally funded under the health law, and then the state would be expected to kick in a small percentage, peaking at 10 percent in 2020.
The savings would more than cover the first decade of Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act, says Amy Baker, director of the Florida legislature's Economic & Demographic Research Office.
If AHCA and Baker are correct, it would actually cost state taxpayers less to cover 1 million uninsured low-income Floridians than it would to leave them uninsured. And it would cost a lot less than the House plan released on Thursday, which would provide coverage to many fewer people: 115,000. [Health News Florida, 4/12/13, emphasis added]
Expansion Would Lower Costs For Florida Taxpayers Through Other Savings
Kaiser Family Foundation: Medicaid Expansion Would Decrease Cost Of Uncompensated Care. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, if Florida expanded its Medicaid coverage there would be a reduction of more than $1 million in uncompensated care costs by 2022. [Kaiser Family Foundation, November 2012]
Georgetown University Study: State Can Expand Medicaid With No "New Net Costs." According to a study by members of the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University, Florida can expand its Medicaid coverage "without assuming any new net costs by achieving savings in other areas of the state's budget." The study also found that "overall state costs are likely to be reduced by some $100 million annually because some safety net programs will become less necessary." [Health Policy Institute, November 2012]
Failing To Expand Medicaid Coverage Could Cost Florida Employers $145.7 Million Per Year In Penalties. A March 30 article in the Tampa Bay Times highlighted a study by the tax preparer Jackson Hewitt which found that the state's decision not to expand Medicaid "could cost Florida employers at least $145.7 million per year in federal penalties." [Tampa Bay Times, 3/30/13]