Commentary: ObamaCare Will Move Louisianians Away from Private Insurance and Inflate Medicaid Rolls
Louisiana’s Implementation costs likely to exceed $7 billion over 10 year period
Contrary to federal government promises, ObamaCare will move Louisiana residents off their private insurance and further inflate Medicaid costs, as a new study shows.
Moreover, Department of Health and Hospitals officials conclude implementation will cost Louisiana in excess of $7 billion over a 10-year period. Between now and 2014, Louisiana health officials also expect Medicaid enrollment to grow by more than 50 percent.
As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act marks its one-year anniversary, President Barack Obama’s repeated assurances of no threat to private health care are coming undone.
“First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan,” Obama told listeners during a public appearance in N.J. “Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
ObamaCare actually requires states to extend their Medicaid programs to individuals making up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) by 2014. And this figure moves up to 138 percent when individuals write off excluded income like child care and foster child assistance.
The required expansion will add not only uninsured adults but also newly eligible parents and childless adults who are not currently enrolled, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).
ObamaCare regulations will shift 233,331 newly eligible state residents out of the private insurance they now have into Medicaid at a cost of $1.2 billion for taxpayers. Louisiana health officials have also identified 384,907 uninsured parents and childless adults who are also newly eligible for Medicaid at a cost of $1.8 billion.
“From the perspective of those ‘newly eligible’ for Medicaid, they are losing freedom and choice,” says Christopher Jaarda, president of American Healthcare Education Coalition. “They are being pushed into Medicaid instead of being able to buy a health insurance policy that they believe best meets their needs.”
Medicaid currently consumes about 17 percent of all state-level spending, more than higher education and transportation combined. Louisiana already faces a $1.6 billion budget deficit, and ObamaCare’s stipulations will further pressure state lawmakers.
“States are experiencing incredible budget strains and these problems are becoming more pronounced given the economy,” says Jaarda. “Frankly, something has to give – will states decide to continue to invest in education, highways and public safety or will states sacrifice these important programs to implement ObamaCare?”
“The choice is really that simple,” he continued. “For every dollar that Louisiana spends on ObamaCare, there will be one less dollar to spend on programs critical to Louisiana’s future. The state’s future depends on an educated, highly-skilled workforce and highway and transportation infrastructure.”
Jaarda also credits Gov. Bobby Jindal for his refusal to set up the exchange system that would enable ObamaCare regulations.
Jaarda anticipates that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately rule ObamaCare unconstitutional. In the meantime, he encourages other states to follow Jindal’s lead.
Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter.