Connecticut Medicaid Expansion as Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The expansion of Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been decided, but is this a good thing for all of Connecticut?

It was March 23, 2010, and America was drunk on the euphoria of change. On this day, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Not since 1965, with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid has the healthcare system in the United States seen such dramatic change.

For the first time in the history of America, health insurance became a mandate. Coverage with health insurance became available to everyone, at least in theory. The federal government will require employers with a certain number of employees to provide this coverage. It has also tasked each state with numerous requirements, including the creation of a state insurance exchange and an expansion of Medicaid.

Medicaid is a joint undertaking between the federal and state governments to provide health insurance to the poor. One aspect of the new law is to request that states provide this coverage to any state residents with incomes at or near the poverty line. Approximately 50 percent of individuals acquiring health insurance with the new law will do so under this program. It happens to be one of the most discussed concerns on a state level, as Medicaid expenditures rank as the number one cost on many state budgets. Connecticut is no exception to this, as the Department of Human Services in 2011 consumed 26.7 percent of the state budget, or approximately $5.2 billion. About $3.84 billion, or nearly 20 cents of every tax dollar collected went to funding for Medicaid and other social assistance programs.

Now, when considering the increased enrollment as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the costs escalate. One published study puts the cost for all states at $8 billion over a ten year period. This is reflective of a requirement that states cover 7 percent of the initial cost starting in 2014, to increase to 10 percent in 2020. The overall total cost of this expansion to all taxpayers nationally is estimated to be $1 trillion over ten years.

Looking specifically at Connecticut, numerous financial issues abound. The budget deficit for this year is already at $363 million. This is expected to increase to $1.1 billion by the following year. The expense for the Department of Human Services is projected to grow to $6.2 billion over the next three years as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is implemented. While many feel good about the humanitarian element making certain everyone has health insurance, certain facts are inescapable.

The bottom line is that significant dollars are necessary to cover these spending plans, and they will have to come from somewhere. For those who already have existing health insurance, or feel they already have an overwhelming state tax burden, this becomes all the more disconcerting. Hopefully, our elected leaders will come to some agreement on a solution that does not penalize the hard working residents of Connecticut who have already been footing this bill. With the track record of our current governor and legislators however, we'll have to wait and see.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Will Wilkin December 04, 2012 at 04:15 PM
The obsession with fiscal crises amounts to putting the cart before the horse, and the "Grand Compromise" "solutions" will only jack-knife into even worse conditions for ordinary Americans. PPACA law described in the article above was phase 1 of the attacks on Medicare; now the "Grand Compromise" proposed to avoid the "fiscal cliff" will be phase 2 of undercutting all financial viability of Medicare. And it is so unnecessary, so backwards, so perverse. In fact, the "Grand Compromise" is only between the 2 parties of the 1%, the super-rich making a deal with themselves to secure the value of their bonds and move closer to fulfilling a decades-long ideological and class-interested goal of gutting Social Security, Medicare and any other forms of "socialism" that have kept tens of millions of Americans out of poverty. Their "solutions" of spending cuts amount to using the fiscal crises they created to scare us into accepting phase 2 of our economic destruction as a nation, even as the top get richer and further unhitch their fate from the nation in favor of attaching themselves to global corporations with zero national loyalties.
Will Wilkin December 04, 2012 at 04:15 PM
The fiscal crises were created by the offshoring of our economy. ONshoring manufacturing and achieving FULL EMPLOYMENT should be the #1 priority if the govt actually cared about helping the American people in this economic depression. Restoring American prosperity should replace "fiscal cliffs" as the #1 priority of American government. With 10 million more jobs our country wouldn't be in fiscal crises, Medicare and Social Security would be on much sounder financial ground, and the whole country would have a better future, both as workers and as retirees. Basically the Congress is being quite logical from a perverse point of view: now that we have dismantled and exported our economic ecosystem, there is no choice but to cancel our peoples' retirements and health care that no longer have an economic base. Our political system itself is moribund, incapable of producing leadership that can rise above short term special interests and act on behalf of the nation as a whole. When will we put behind us this nascent civil war of right v left that is an irrelevant and divisive and ideological fight over "entitlements" and "nanny-statism" instead of the REAL discussion we need to have first: how to rebuild American manufacturing and put people back to work making the country rich again? Solve that last problem and the fiscal crises will become easily managed routine government.
Yooper December 05, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Good to see the loonies survived the elections to write and comment on articles.
Bill December 05, 2012 at 04:07 AM
When it comes to taxes and the fiscal health of our economy, this is disconcerting...to put it lightly. As Dr. Langsam points out, expanding Medicaid in CT will bloat our already obese budget deficit and the taxpayers will bear the brunt. As the fiscal cliff looms, Barron's on 11/19/12 stated that the average family in CT makes $100,451 per year and will see a tax increase of $6653 in 2013 compared to 2011! I don't know about you, but this is $500 I use to save for 3 college tuitions...maybe I should bury my head in the sand, pay more taxes and hope the government bails me out or devises the ACA2…the Affordable College Act!
Margaret Callahan December 06, 2012 at 01:58 PM
What is it about nutcases like "cheryl" who highlight their inability to spell by SHOUTING IN UPPER CASE LETTERS.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »