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
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.
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