Skip to main content

Another laugher: State officials surprised Feds are shafting them on Medicaid costs

Again this would be amusing if it hadn't been predictable:

Delaware taxpayers appear to be on the hook for millions more in Medicaid spending next year, despite Gov. Jack Markell’s plan to expand access to the program under the Affordable Care Act that was intended to save the state money. 
Officials in Markell’s administration say they were surprised this fall when the federal government signaled it would shift some Medicaid costs back to the state. The move was triggered by a technical change in the way federal economists calculate personal income, and could cost the state an unexpected $25 million.
Some days I give the WNJ's Jonathan Starkey crap, but today he perfectly captures the unintentional irony of Rita Landgraf's comments:
“There’s nothing wrong with what the federal government did,” Landgraf said. “It’s just that it was terribly unfair . . ." 
I'm not sure who really believed that (A) adding 20,000-30,000 people to the 215,000 people in Delaware already on Medicaid wasn't going to cost more; or that (B) the cash-strapped Feds weren't going to look for a way to shift more of the expense downward.  Nobody's repealed the law of gravity recently.

Here's the thing:  the Feds are basically telling Delaware that it will have to pick up about an additional $1,000 per person for the new enrollees.  That, of course, occurs at a time when DEFAC predicts a budget shortfall of about $13 million against baseline spending.  So our next General Assembly will face some interesting choices.  Do we continue to pass out tens of millions of dollars in corporate welfare each year?  Do we continue to bail out casinos?  Do we continue to fund a bloated "homeland security" apparatus that spies on Delaware citizens and otherwise delivers very little in the way of additional security, for--say--the citizens of Wilmington?

Or do we start hearing from our Senators and Representatives that we need new taxes?

Ironically, one of the answers is staring them in the face if they would only look at it:  follow Colorado's example and legalize marijuana, then tax it.  Presto! New revenue stream, and--unlike casinos--it's very damn unlikely that New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Maryland will be following suit anytime soon.

Not the mention the benefits of lowering prison costs, cutting out a major motivator for urban crime by undercutting gang economics, and treating people with serious drug problems as patients rather than criminals.

Oh, and we could fund Medicaid, too.


Anonymous said…
I knew it was coming, although I didn't know it would happen this soon. Secretary Landgraf has made it clear that the Markell Administration was caught off guard with the accelerated quantitative easing. Lt. Gov. Denn mentioned in that debate way back with Sher Valenzuela that one of the biggest reasons why we accepted the Medicaid expansion was that the Federal Government agreed to pay for it. In the same breath he also left room for maneuvering. Should there be a pullback in temporary funds to the extent of causing significant budgetary problems, he essentially said Delaware would have to reconsider its participation in the Medicaid expansion.

Popular posts from this blog

Comment Rescue (?) and child-related gun violence in Delaware

In my post about the idiotic over-reaction to a New Jersey 10-year-old posing with his new squirrel rifle , Dana Garrett left me this response: One waits, apparently in vain, for you to post the annual rates of children who either shoot themselves or someone else with a gun. But then you Libertarians are notoriously ambivalent to and silent about data and facts and would rather talk abstract principles and fear monger (like the government will confiscate your guns). It doesn't require any degree of subtlety to see why you are data and fact adverse. The facts indicate we have a crisis with gun violence and accidents in the USA, and Libertarians offer nothing credible to address it. Lives, even the lives of children, get sacrificed to the fetishism of liberty. That's intellectual cowardice. OK, Dana, let's talk facts. According to the Children's Defense Fund , which is itself only querying the CDCP data base, fewer than 10 children/teens were killed per year in Delaw

With apologies to Hube: dopey WNJ comments of the week

(Well, Hube, at least I'm pulling out Facebook comments and not poaching on your preserve in the Letters.) You will all remember the case this week of the photo of the young man posing with the .22LR squirrel rifle that his Dad got him for his birthday with resulted in Family Services and the local police attempting to search his house.  The story itself is a travesty since neither the father nor the boy had done anything remotely illegal (and check out the picture for how careful the son is being not to have his finger inside the trigger guard when the photo was taken). But the incident is chiefly important for revealing in the Comments Section--within Delaware--the fact that many backers of "common sense gun laws" really do have the elimination of 2nd Amendment rights and eventual outright confiscation of all privately held firearms as their objective: Let's run that by again: Elliot Jacobson says, This instance is not a case of a father bonding with h

A Libertarian Martin Luther King Jr. Day post

In which we travel into interesting waters . . . (for a fairly long trip, so be prepared) Dr. King's 1968 book, Where do we go from here:  chaos or community? , is profound in that it criticizes anti-poverty programs for their piecemeal approach, as John Schlosberg of the Center for a Stateless Society  [C4SS] observes: King noted that the antipoverty programs of the time “proceeded from a premise that poverty is a consequence of multiple evils,” with separate programs each dedicated to individual issues such as education and housing. Though in his view “none of these remedies in itself is unsound,” they “all have a fatal disadvantage” of being “piecemeal,” with their implementation having “fluctuated at the whims of legislative bodies” or been “entangled in bureaucratic stalling.”   The result is that “fragmentary and spasmodic reforms have failed to reach down to the profoundest needs of the poor.” Such single-issue approaches also have “another common failing — they are i