The writer, a Republican, is governor of Nebraska.
A number of advocacy groups recently have said they support President Barack Obama’s massive unfunded Medicaid expansion for Nebraska. They write about expanded access to health care, but they don’t want to talk about the costs of the Medicaid expansion and who’s going to pay for it.
So, let me share some facts with you.
It would cost Nebraska middle-class families more than $170 million in federal and state funds over the next eight years to implement the technology and administration of the health care exchange required by Obamacare. This $170 million does not include additional costs to the Medicaid program as a result of President Obama’s new federal health care law.
It will cost Nebraska middle-class families $72 million in new state spending in the upcoming two-year budget for the growth of the current Medicaid program as a result of Obamacare. That $72 million will be a permanent part of every state budget in the future.
This new state spending for President Obama’s new federal health care law is money that should be going to state aid to education, special education, early childhood programs and higher education.
On top of already diverting funds from the education of our children, these organizations want to expand Medicaid.
Expanding Medicaid will cost Nebraska middle-class families hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state spending. When you add in the federal costs, it will be billions of dollars.
These advocacy groups will tell you that it’s free federal money, but they conveniently forget to tell you that it’s your tax dollars. It’s not free federal money. It’s our tax dollars.
These groups say the federal government will pick up 90 percent of the cost and the state will have to pay only 10 percent of the cost. However, they don’t want you to know that 10 percent amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars of new state spending.
Additionally, the federal government doesn’t have a history of fulfilling its commitments. For example, the federal government said it would fund special education to the states at 40 percent. Currently, they pay only 18 percent to 19 percent of the cost.
The proposed Medicaid expansion is unaffordable and would result in less funding for the education of our children or higher taxes on Nebraska’s middle-class families.
Our priority should be the education of our children.