Friday, October 09, 2015

Watch for a $100 million Frankfort Medicaid bomb

If a proposed $55 a month increase in Medicare premiums gains approval this month, Kentucky taxpayers will be hit with another $100 million a year Medicaid bill in 2016 no one in Frankfort is addressing publicly.

That's because some 200,000 Kentucky Medicare recipients are also on Medicaid, which means the state pays their premiums.

The executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors sounded an alarm to the New York Times about this issue, though he didn't mention Kentucky specifically.

"This is a huge issue for states," Executive Director Matt D. Salo said. "To finance Medicare, the federal government would shift billions of dollars in costs to state Medicaid programs."

Idaho, which has about one-fifth as many Medicare/Medicaid "dual eligibles" as Kentucky, projects an additional $20 million cost. California, with about six times as many dual eligibles, expects to pay an additional $550 million a year.

The Medicare premium increase should be made official later this month.

"The Beshear administration's rosy projections for Medicaid expansion in Kentucky very stupidly didn't consider the impact of the Medicare unfunded ticking time bomb," said Kentucky Progress publisher David Adams. "At the very moment logic dictates we should be running away from federal healthcare manipulation as fast as we can, Kentucky Democrats have us curling up with it on the floor and counting down to zero."