Compounding Rhode Island’s Pre-Existing Condition: Impact of Health Care Reform on the State Budget
So here’s the deal. When “reform” kicks in, best estimates are that 50,000 people will be added to Rhode Island’s Medicaid rolls. Amy Kempe at the Governor’s office advises that, after federal matching funds go away, this will cost Rhode Island taxpayers $100-$150 million. Further, Ms. Kempe goes on to point out that
We also know that Medicaid is the 2nd largest budgetary expense, and the new law does little to control healthcare costs, so the Medicaid inflation rate could continue as it has.
So for planning purposes, we should pencil in the higher figure.
The budget deficit for 2011 is over $400 million. Four hundred million ($400,000,000) dollars in current state spending will have to be eliminated just to get to a break even budget. But, as difficult as that will be, our task will not be done at that point. If health care “reform” is not overturned, in four years, we’ll need to find an additional $150 million annually.
Every member of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation voted for the health care reform bill. Voted for this additional substantial budget deficit. Voted to expand the second largest spending item in the state budget. Can we look to them for suggestions as to where to find this additional $150 million?