Health care reform did not come cheap. States already struggling to find the funds to cover the cost of Medicaid expansion, haven’t even scratched the surface of the unfunded mandates and liabilities that lie ahead.
On Friday states must decide whether to aid the Department of Health and Human Services in the set up of high-risk insurance pools. HHS has $5 billion to fund the program until 2014, but many state leaders are worried this amount won’t be enough to fund a program of this scale, and costs will eventually be shifted to the states.
Politico reports on how states have responded:
“Georgia Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine, a Republican candidate for governor, said his state won’t implement the high-risk pool program because it will “ultimately become the financial responsibility of Georgians in the form of an unfunded mandate,” he wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.”
“Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Insurance Commissioner James J. Donelon have made a preliminary decision to opt out of the program, Donelon said Monday… ‘On the surface, it appears to me to be a no-brainer,” Donelon said. “We can’t afford this.”
A number of states have joined the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation. Latest count: 23 states.