Shock! More “Surprise” Medicaid Cost Expenditures

Gee, who could have foreseen this? Virginia’s Medicaid expansion will cost more than expected. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: A hospital tax designed to pay for Medicaid expansion might not cover the expense of administering a key provision of the legislation: a work requirement for people receiving benefits.

The Senate Finance Committee was “taken aback” earlier this week, reports the T-D, to discover that Governor Ralph Northam proposed using $13 million from the General Fund to seek federal approval of a work-requirement waiver. Senate Republican leaders also “expressed surprise” at a new estimate that Medicaid expansion would cost about $85 million more in the upcoming biennium than previously estimated. 

Said House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, “It was always my expectation that this was going to be part of that provider assessment.” By the provider assessment, Jones was referring to a tax on hospital revenue, the cost of which may or may not get passed on to patients — nobody really knows.

Both of these surprises come on the heels of a $462 million surprise increase in the cost of the pre-expansion Medicaid program, plus the surprise $47 million never mentioned during last year’s debate to boost Medicaid reimbursements to induce more physicians to take on Medicaid patients.

It’s enough to make one cynical. Somehow, costs never seem to come in less than expected. And cost overruns always come as a “surprise.” It’s almost as if… as if backers of bigger entitlements low ball the cost in order to sucker people into backing the program. Naaah, that couldn’t be the case. Politicians wouldn’t trick us, would they?

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4 responses to “Shock! More “Surprise” Medicaid Cost Expenditures

  1. I am taken aback by the notion that it would cost $13 million just to seek federal approval of a waiver. Why should it cost that much? What would the money be spent on? (Consultants, probably.) Why aren’t the General Assembly members asking those questions?

  2. yes. how does it cost 13 million just seek approval! Wow!

    My understanding is that these are not increases in reimbursement costs but
    anticipated cost increases because more people are signing up than forecast.

    That’s no particulate comfort to the budget hawks nor tax payers to be honest.

    It does point out that for some time, even before Medicaid Expansion, we’ve known that there were folks who were eligible that did not know it and thus not enrolled. What is going on is that now that Virginia has approved the expansion – people without insurance are now coming back to see if they can get coverage – and a good number of them are people who were already eligible for original Medicaid but either did not know it or got told they were not, etc.

    Also to point out, once more than Virginia can make MedicAid even more stingy by opting out of some things that are voluntary. For instance, many state have much lower coverage for folks that went into nursing homes but still had significant assets like homes. Sounds like the autism issue might also be in play.

  3. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like your current insurance plan you can keep it. We can’t know what’s in this bill until we pass it.

    How many times do the Democrats have to lie to get a new entitlement plan passed before we stop believing them.

    Ralph Northam has become the worst Virginia governor in my memory (and I’ve lived here almost 60 years).

  4. Pingback: All the Bad News About Obamacare (It Never Stops) | New American Gazette

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