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August 13th, 2009

Rants: State Tax Payers Can’t Foot the Bill for Obama-care

rants-and-pressRep. Chris Rants released the following in response to the ongoing national healthcare debate and the added costs it would bring to state government.

“Iowa taxpayers can’t afford the $630 Million increase in state spending that will be mandated under any of the three versions of Obama-care being discussed in Congress,” stated Representative Christopher Rants. “Congress is out of touch, and the cost is too much.”

“With all the outrage being expressed at congressional town halls over Obama’s public healthcare option, I’m worried that important details are being ignored – like the cost to our state government. We need a governor to speak up and tell congress that a $630 million increase in spending is something Iowa taxpayers can’t afford. Unfortunately Governor Culver has never seen a spending plan he didn’t like, no matter the cost to taxpayers and future generations.”

“The Kennedy-Dodd proposal would put another 335,879 adults on Medicaid at a cost of $629,604,166. We are able to establish that number and cost because just a year ago the Iowa legislature commissioned a study by the Lewin Group to analyze the cost of exactly that change.”

Medicaid eligibility is restricted, on average, to families earning 68 percent of the poverty level, or about $15,000 for a family of four in 2009. Childless adults who are not disabled are generally excluded from the program. Under the Kennedy-Dodd proposal the adult eligibility for Medicaid would increase to 150% of the poverty level. According to the Lewin Group study, 85,383 parents could be covered at a cost of $391 per month. The study also found that 250,496 childless adults could be covered at a cost of $439 per month. The total annual cost of providing Medicaid coverage to the 335,879 Iowans identified by Lewin would be $1,720,229,964. Iowa’s share of this would be $629,604,166 as the state pays about 1/3 of Medicaid costs, with the federal government picking up the rest.

“Just last week, Senator Baucus was quoted in Congressional Quarterly as saying ‘we cannot let U.S. taxpayers pay the full state bill’ for expanding Medicaid. The Blue Dog Democrats in the House have already moved to have the states pay. Well, how do they expect Iowans to pay this bill?” added Rants.

“Iowa will spend just over one billion dollars on Medicaid this year. What Congress is proposing would be a 60 percent increase in that budget – something taxpayers simply cannot afford.”

Copies of the Lewin Group study can be obtained here. – The relevant chart is found on page 18.

Written by Chris Rants

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The Iowa Republican

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