Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Politics

March 19, 2013

IHA endorses Medicaid expansion

Knoxville —  

A report prepared for the Iowa Hospital Association, paid for by the American Hospital Association and performed by Regional Economic Models, Inc., and George Washington University, indicates that if Iowa expands Medicaid to those at 138 percent of the federal poverty level, over 2,000 jobs could be created and $2.2 billion in economic activity could be brought into the state over the next seven years.

The American Hospital Association spent $19 million to lobby for the “Affordable” Care Act in 2011, according a Feb. 28 article written by Dr. Sreedhar Potarazu for Fox News.

“The purpose of this report is to offer a balanced and comprehensive view of the economic, employment and budgetary effects of the decision of whether or not to expand Medicaid in Iowa,” the report reads. “It is important to note that this report focuses on the effects of Iowa’s decision concerning the Medicaid expansion alone; it does not address the impact of the overall federal health law.”

Iowa shares the expense of providing Medicaid coverage with the federal government. Today, Iowa is responsible for 40.4 percent of most Medicaid spending in the state, and the federal government covers the remaining percentage. The ACA increased the federal matching rates for persons who are newly eligible through the Medicaid expansions, which is expected to reduce state costs for this population. 

From 2014-16, the federal government has promised to fund 100 percent of spending for this population. The report estimates this to be $4.1 billion. 

This enhanced federal match declines to 95 percent in 2017, 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019, and 90 percent in 2020 and thereafter. 

The report quotes figures from the Urban Institute regarding the number of people who may join Medicaid in Iowa, if the program is expanded. The institute originates from a blue-ribbon commission created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. Johnson was the President who originally signed Medicare and Medicaid into law.

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