Photo: William Hartz (flickr)
The budget unveiled by House Republicans on Friday does not include funding for the Medicaid expansion proposed under the Affordable Care Act.
About 92,000 Hoosiers are expected to join the Medicaid rolls over the next few years because the Affordable Care Act requires people to buy health insurance. The proposed state budget only includes enough money to cover those individuals. It does not provide any funding for expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Even though the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for the first three years, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Tim Brown says he is worried about the cost several years out when the state would be required to pay a greater share of the expense.
“To say after three years we’re going to cut a program that people have,” he says. “You look at the problems we have at the federal level on trimming expenditures in programs that have been in place. We have the same kind of problems and dynamics at the state level.”
Several reports have estimated the economic benefit and cost of Medicaid expansion, but Indiana University Professor Beth Cate, who studies state-federal partnerships, says it’s not simple addition and subtraction.
“It’s really kind of multifaceted because you don’t just look at the tax dollars in and how do you isolate the benefits coming out but what are all of the other kind of expanding economic impacts,” she says.
The state is still waiting to hear from the federal government on whether it will give Indiana money to cover more low-income individuals under its existing Healthy Indiana Plan instead of the traditional Medicaid expansion plan.