This is bad news for states like North Dakota which have already approved the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid.
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a stop-gap measure for those who cannot get health insurance now until the Obamacare mandate kicks in next year, is running out of money because – surprise! – it has major cost overruns.
Now it’s looking like those cost overruns will be dumped on the states, many of which haven’t approved the Medicaid expansion yet:
In a letter this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, state officials said they were “blindsided” and “very disappointed” by a federal proposal they contend would shift the risk for cost overruns to states in the waning days of the program. About 100,000 people are currently covered.
“We are concerned about what will become of our high risk members’ access to this decent and affordable coverage,” wrote Michael Keough, chairman of the National Association of State Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans. States and local nonprofits administer the program in 21 states, and the federal government runs the remaining plans.
“Enrollees also appear to be at risk of increases in both premiums and out-of-pocket costs that may make continued enrollment cost prohibitive,” added Keough, who runs North Carolina’s program. He warned of “large-scale enrollee terminations at this critical transition time.”
The crisis is surfacing at a politically awkward time for the Obama administration, which is trying to persuade states to embrace a major expansion of Medicaid under the health care law. It may undercut one of the main arguments proponents of the expansion are making: that Washington is a reliable financial partner.
This is jut the tip of the ice berg, I’m afraid.
Meanwhile, here’s Senator Chuck Schumer admitting that Obamacare is at least part of the problem with skyrocketing insurance premiums. So much for Obamacare bending the cost curve.