Maine’s Question 2: Five stories from five states show pitfalls

Pine Tree Primer

Yes or No? That is the question voters in Maine will be asked on November 7th when they decide Question 2.

With debate heating up around Maine’s referendum to expand Medicaid to childless adults above the federal poverty line, here are some links to articles about how similar expansion efforts have turned out in other states that underwent broad expansions of Medicaid

Massachusetts

Health care rationing is being proposed, limiting services available even to pregnant women and people with disabilities. The Washington Examiner reports this is the result of the rising cost of care for able-bodied adults now being paid for by Massachusetts state government due to expansion.

New Hampshire

In an effort to help close a $58 million shortfall caused by Medicaid expansion costs coming in much higher than projected, the Boston Globe reports that New Hampshire proposed cutting nursing home funding by $7 million.

Arkansas

Arkansas rolls back Medicaid eligibility via waiver after enrollment exceeds number of people previous Governor projected would ever actually be eligible for coverage, the National Review reports.

Kentucky

Kentucky struggles to afford Medicaid expansion after costs come in more than double projections, the Associated Press reports. Kentucky now faces a nearly $350 million in their current two year budget, and Medicaid costs now are second only to education in state spending. Kentucky is also still struggling with a severely underfunded pension system.

Illinois

Amid Illinois’ rolling budget crisis, taxpayers have paid more than double what officials projected for the states’ Medicaid expansion. This mounts to more than $4.6 billon, Illinois Policy reports.

Other states, such as Arizona, have crafted more nuanced expansion proposals which have been more financially manageable than the broad, sweeping expansion proposals which are outlined in the articles above. In Arizona, state lawmakers implemented an assessment on Arizona hospitals to pay for the state’s share of the Medicaid expansion costs.

Maine’s referendum proposal contains no such ‘pay for’ mechanism or assessment, leaving the cost to be carried by state taxpayers in Maine’s two-year state budget.

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