Maryland, Virginia separated by $1 billion on health care
Oh what a difference a river makes.
On the same day, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced that initial state estimates show Virginia will lose $1 billion over 12 years in increased Medicaid costs from federal health care reform, and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Mally (D) announced his state will save money from the bill.
How much money?
You can read about O'Malley's announcement on the Maryland Politics blog.
One reason for the discrepancy may be that states that have been funding some of the new benefits in the bill locally will now have a federal funding partner. For instance, Maryland has already been allowing young adults to remain on their parents' health insurance. But states that have not been offering these benefits will now have to pony up.
Another reason, of course, could be politics, given the Dems control Annapolis and the GOP leads in Richmond.
We've asked to see documentation from Virginia's Department of Medical Assistance Services, which drew up the figures and will provide them when we see them.
McDonnell meanwhile released a statement on the health care vote this afternoon.
"The continued intrusion of this Congress into the free enterprise system, and the placing of new mandates on states, is shocking to the American system of federalism," he said.
The full statement is below.
Full statement from Gov. Bob McDonnell:
Expanding access to reasonably priced quality healthcare is a bipartisan goal. We all agree that we must make it easier for Americans to purchase and retain health insurance.
However, this massive and complex piece of legislation allows the federal government to exercise control over one-sixth of the United States economy. The continued intrusion of this Congress into the free enterprise system, and the placing of new mandates on states, is shocking to the American system of federalism.
Most disconcerting is the provision mandating that every American must purchase health insurance or face a monetary penalty. This is an unprecedented expansion of federal power. It is hard to imagine our Founder's agreeing that the United States Constitution permits Congress to mandate the purchase of a good or service under penalty of law.
Just a few days ago I approved a bill, passed on a bipartisan basis, which prohibits mandatory insurance purchases for Virginians. Virginia's Attorney General has rightly chosen to challenge the constitutionality of the federal mandate. I anticipate that he will be joined by a number of other states. The issues raised by Attorney General Cuccinelli require a full and prompt review by the judicial branch.
While individuals face a mandate in this legislation, so too do the states. The proposed expansion of Medicaid is an historic unfunded federal mandate on the states. This expansion will put at least 400,000 more individuals on Virginia's Medicaid rolls. The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services has estimated that it will cost the Commonwealth an additional $1.1 billion by 2022. Virginia, and the other 49 states, will bear the financial burden of one of the biggest unfunded mandates in the history of our nation.
This will have a significant and unavoidable impact on the bottom line of our state budget, and the general fiscal welfare of Virginia. We simply cannot afford this expansion.
The bill will cut over $500 billion from Medicare, and may reduce the quality of the care our seniors depend upon. The Medicare system is already underfunded and overburdened.
This legislation only exacerbates the problems facing the system.
This legislation will raise taxes on individuals and businesses. Our small business owners, who generate nearly 98% of the new jobs in Virginia, will see their taxes go up. This will occur at the same time that federal tax cuts from the early part of last decade expire.
We will face significantly higher federal taxes at a time when we need to be keeping taxes low and freeing capital for job creation and economic development. It can also be anticipated that Virginians' insurance premiums will increase in the years ahead after passage of this legislation.
I am further disappointed that a bill so massive in size is so limited in its approach. Congressional Republicans were right to call for allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines, and this provision should have been included in the bill.
States have long been leaders in the effort to identify and implement innovative healthcare solutions. Regardless of the future of this legislation, we must continue to play that important role in our federal system.
In Virginia we will promote incentives for the purchase of long term care, and promote individual medical savings accounts. We will focus on preventative health and combating obesity. We will study our medical delivery systems with the objective of reforming them to work better for our citizens. Free clinics are an important piece of the coverage equation, and I will look for ways by which the Commonwealth can help with the expansion of these important facilities. We will be aggressive in finding every way by which we can reduce the cost of our Medicaid system, which has already grown 1600% in the past 25 years. It is unsustainable.
Every American should have the opportunity to purchase good quality healthcare coverage. But we will not improve our healthcare system by implementing a massive one-size fits all federal policy that dramatically increases the deficit, puts unprecedented mandates on states and individuals, and jeopardizes the good coverage most citizens already have. I am disappointed in the passage of this bill, and I thank the bipartisan majority of Virginia's congressional delegation for voting against it."
March 22, 2010; 6:23 PM ET
Categories: Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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