North Carolina’s state budget is already at the breaking point. This year, lawmakers – desperate to raise revenue - hit us with $1 billion in state tax hikes including a 1% sales tax increase, and 30% increases in the excise taxes on beer, wine, and liquor. Even with all that, they only managed to delay the inevitable train wreck for another year by using $1.4 billion in federal “stimulus” funds and nearly $100 million from various state “trust funds”. Marianne Suarez of the Civitas Institute writes in Federal Health Care “Reform” Proposal Would Add $600 Million to N.C.’s Already Strained Budget:
Yet even as states such as North Carolina are struggling to cover their spending commitments, a central part of the federal health care “reform” effort is to further expand the second-largest state-funded program: Medicaid.In the few months since state budget was passed, the state has already overspent on Medicaid by $160 million, and that number is expected to climb beyond $200 million before the close of the fiscal year. Due mostly to high unemployment, Medicaid expenditures are approaching 9 percent higher than in 2008-2009. Not only that, but this year North Carolina has spent 4 percent more on the average enrollee than was forecast.
…the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” further expands Medicaid eligibility up to 150% of the federal poverty level – adding more than 17 million people to the system nation wide. By some estimates, this move is expected to cost North Carolina taxpayers another $599 million.
If DemCare becomes law, North Carolina is facing a $2 billion budget shortfall - over ten percent of the budget - each year as far as the eye can see. Guess who is going to pay for that? Ms. Suarez continues:
The move to expand government health care programs already in place – Medicaid and Medicare - was pushed through by Democrats as a positive alternative for the public option. In reality, forcing such a dramatic expansion of programs such as Medicaid will do nothing more than make health care more costly and less accessible to the same people it aims to protect. Because Medicaid reimburses providers at a lower rate than private insurance companies, fewer doctors are accepting Medicaid patients. Piling millions more people into the Medicaid program reduces their access to care, as more Medicaid patients attempt to compete for the attention of fewer providers. Moreover, those providers still accepting Medicaid patients will attempt to compensate for the low Medicaid reimbursements by charging the private insurance companies higher rates – thus driving up premiums.Not only will North Carolinians be taxed to pay for the expanded Medicaid program in North Carolina, but thanks to Democrat bribery in the Senate, they’ll be paying for Medicaid Recipients in Nebraska and Nevada as well. From Kate Obenshain at Human Events, Obamacare Bankrupting States:
Senator Reid’s proposal to expand Medicaid will not only make medical care less accessible to our nation’s most needy citizens, it will impose an unaffordable burden upon already cash-strapped state budgets. North Carolina’s state budget is already in a multi-billion dollar hole. Where does Sen. Reid think we will come up with another $599 million?
“Sen. Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback” for Nebraska may have given Harry Reid his coveted sixtieth vote, but it comes at a price for the other states, states that are already feeling the hammer of rising Medicaid costs.Sen. Kay Hagan absolutely doesn't care about any of this, but our Rep. Heath Shuler at least claims that he won't support any health care bill that will drive up the deficit. His offices are closed until Monday, January 5th, but you can contact him then (if it's not too late).
Just coming to light is a concern that has been giving governors heartburn for months: the fact that states are going to be hit with a monstrous financial burden with the passage of Obamacare, and none are in a position to handle it.
…Ohio spends 39 percent of its state budget a year on Medicaid. Massachusetts spends 27 percent. [The HHS budget in NC accounts for 22% of the total.] On average, states fork over 20 percent of their annual spending on this joint state-federal program that originally began to assist women and children in poverty and the disabled.
…Who is going to get stuck with half the price tag? The states. Well, the states minus Nebraska. And probably Nevada…
…Dealing with the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, 48 states are already in the red -- in many cases due to their own profligacy -- and they expect to be facing even larger deficits next year.
The Congressional Budget Office forecasted that the expansion of Medicaid would add about $37 billion to states’ expenses. How would states pay for the increased costs? Cut services, including education, and yes, increase tax.
Those tax increases would be piled on top of several hundred million in federal tax hikes currently being bandied about to pay for the government’s power grab on health care. All this coming from a president who promised not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000.
Legislators have been getting an earful from the states on the devastating consequences of expanding Medicaid, but they aren’t letting that stop them. Or even slow them down.
Sen.Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has been outspoken in his advocacy for the states, but he has garnered little attention. He didn’t hold back when he said, “Any senator who votes to expand Medicaid and transfer the costs on to the states ought to be sentenced to go home and serve as governor for a few years and try to implement the Medicaid program which is bankrupting states and forcing funding cuts that will ruin public higher education…Unlike the federal government, states can't print money."