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February 15, 2013      4:43 PM

LBB CALLS FOR FUNDING MEDICAID EXPANSION AS PART OF ITS ADDITIONAL BUDGET PRIORITIES

The recommendation given to the Article II Senate Finance workgroup notes that $50.4 million in state funding would draw down $4 billion in federal match for the next budget cycle

The Legislative Budget Board has included funding to extend Medicaid coverage to low-income adults as part of its list of priorities for additional funding to SB 1, the Senate budget bill.

The state’s political leadership has balked so far at endorsing the program’s expansion, which is a central component of the federal Affordable Care Act. The LBB recommendation, though, stems directly from the size of the federal match and the resultant outsized return on investment for the state.

Or to put it another way, the LBB is acknowledging just how much cash would be left on the table should the state’s leadership ultimately decide against the expansion. Also, the added coverage is expected to drive down governmental health care costs at the local level as fewer people seek care in hospital emergency rooms. Uncompensated care at hospitals amounted to $3.1 billion in 2011, according to LBB figures.

By John Reynolds

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