States Push Back at Senate Health Bill

Those with expanded coverage would subsidize those without
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2009 9:14 AM CST
Dr. Thomas Hoffeld, chief of staff at the Spanish Peaks Health Center, speaks with a patient covered by Medicaid on August 5, 2009 in Walsenburg, Colo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – For states that had already expanded health coverage, no good deed goes unpunished in the Senate reform bill, which would fund expanded Medicaid in less-progressive states—but not in those where coverage is already in place, even though rolls will expand. The plan amounts to making states such as Arizona, California, New Jersey, New York, and Wisconsin subsidize beefed-up Medicaid programs elsewhere in the union, and with budgets straining, they're not happy. “We are, in a sense, being punished for our own charity,” New York's Gov. David Paterson complained.

Case in point, reports the New York Times: Arizona, where Gov. Jan Brewer, facing state revenues down a third, last week barred new applicants to the state's children's insurance. Arizona estimates that the first seven years under the Senate's bill will cost it $17 billion for its share of Medicaid. The pricetag were it not already subsidizing Medicaid? $1.4 billion.

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