The governor, John Hickenlooper, agreed to an expansion of Medicaid under the Federal Health Care Reform law. On the 3rd of January the Governor announced plans to cover 160,000 additional Coloradans - which is 133% of individuals and families of the federal poverty level to qualify.
It meant that when a person who earned less than $ 14,856 could now receive Medicaid. Currently a person earning less than $ 11,170 was eligible. For a family of 4 the earning would be less than $ 30,657 instead of $ 23650.
AdvertisementHospitals anyway treated all patients in the emergency room, whether they were insured or not, the cost was passed on. No one could be turned away from emergency medical treatment. This is why hospitals welcomed the governor's plans.
"Last year in Colorado that cost shift, as we call it, was about $1.5 billion," Colorado Hospital Association President Steven Summer said. "There is a significant hidden fee or tax on every patient that has health insurance, that pays."
An earlier expansion taken on by the State of Colorado brought down the problem by $ 200 million over 3 years - by covering 60,000 new patients.
Covering all these people under Medicaid would cost $ 128 million over the decade, according to Governor Hickenlooper's office. Although a Kaiser Family Foundation study came to the conclusion that the expense would be more than $ 850 million.
Under the Health Care law "Obamacare" the federal government would pay the expansion cost for the initial 3 years, after which the state would pick up 10% of the cost.
According to the Governor, enough money could be saved by making Medicaid more efficient in Colorado. He told the reporters that "not one dollar of general fund money" would be required to cover the new people on Medicaid. The Governor's office also projected a saving of $ 180 over a period of 10 years.
Republicans doubted that the Federal Government would actually fund the program; Sen. Kent Lambert felt the Governor's program was "short on details."
Hickenlooper was confident the Federal Government would keep its word.
Reference: Brandon Rittman - The Capitol; Local News
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