States already struggling to get by will face even tighter fiscal constraints thanks to yet another costly Obamacare mandate. A study last week from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured revealed President Obama’s health care takeover would dump $1 trillion in new costs on federal and state taxpayers over the next decade.
By Kaiser’s calculation, following Obamacare’s loosened eligibility conditions for Medicaid could add an additional 10 million people to the rolls of the insured. The tab for this will exceed $1 trillion by 2022 with Uncle Sam picking up $952 billion, leaving states on the hook for $76 billion. That represents a 26 percent increase in federal outlays, but the state share represents modest 3 percent increase — for now. The real crunch will come after 2022, when Uncle Sam is no longer required to foot the bill for the Medicaid expansion.
States have a way out of this budget-busting dilemma. The Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling earlier this year left it up to the states to decide whether to expand Medicaid under the Obamacare guidelines or not — in return for the federal cash. Governors would be wise to decline Uncle Sam’s white elephant, as they will hard pressed to find enough money in their coffers to cover costs once the federal largesse begins to taper off in 2022.