* House GOP Leader Tom Cross had this to say yesterday after the US Supreme Court upheld Obamacare…
Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms a federal law that has the potential to pile billions of dollars of additional expenses into our state budget that we cannot afford. We are encouraging Congress to repeal Obamacare at the federal level as soon as possible, and provide Illinois the ability to administer an efficient Medicaid program.
* But this is what’s actually going to happen…
Aides [to Gov. Pat Quinn] say under the law, 500,000 more people will qualify for Medicaid coverage, which initially will be funded complete by the federal government. Illinois will be required to pick up 10 percent of the costs by 2020, but state budget officials say it should not cost the state any additional dollars because the federal government will still be reimbursing Illinois for health care at a higher rate than before.
Another news source…
All of the cost of newly eligible Medicaid recipients would be covered by the federal government during the first three years. The federal subsidy is to drop to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond.
Illinois Medicaid spending is likely to increase by $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion over the five-year period starting in 2014, according to a report by the Washington-based Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, published in 2010. The range depends upon how many people actually join the program.
* And then there’s this…
Officials estimate that another 1 million people will be able to purchase coverage through a state health insurance exchange, which has yet to be put in place.
The exchange is designed to create a competitive forum for people to buy insurance coverage, but state lawmakers have yet to pass legislation creating the online marketplace. Quinn said he will ask lawmakers to act when they return to Springfield this fall, but some health care advocates say Illinois is running out of time and Quinn should issue an executive order to set up portions of the exchange on his own.
Quinn dodged questions Thursday about using his executive powers to move forward with the exchange. But the governor did acknowledge that initially, at least, the state will partner with the federal government to run the exchange instead of operating the marketplace on its own.
* Cross blocked a bipartisan effort to create that exchange. And the going won’t be easy in the Senate, either…
Quinn said he is not worried about missing the deadlines. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the named defendant in the Supreme Court case, told Quinn and other large-state governors in a conference call Thursday they had “great flexibility” in putting the plans together and complying with new Medicaid provisions.
The Republican whom Quinn narrowly defeated for governor, state Sen. Bill Brady, said he doubts any Republicans will be supportive of creating an Illinois exchange until seeing whether Congress votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I don’t know what the Democrats are thinking, but I can’t see the Republicans supporting any exchange language that incorporates a tax and creates an expense to our budget,” said Brady (R-Bloomington), who co-chaired the health exchange panel.
Brady also cautioned Quinn that there would be a political price to be paid if he tries to enact the exchange on his own through executive order.
“I don’t think the people of Illinois support a tax on Obamacare. I think there will be repercussions for members of his party who let him do that,” he said.
State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said the threat of fines could drive many of Illinois’ uninsured into Medicaid, costing the state $2.4 billion.
State Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady added, “Obamacare will lead to the implosion of our health care system, an explosion of our national debt and economic uncertainty for millions of job creators.”
“We can move forward with the insurance exchange. Basically, we can do it through legislation, which I think is a superior method. But other states have done it through executive orders through their governors,” said state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), who sponsored a Medicaid-reform package and was a member of the health exchange task force.