President Barack Obama thinks his healthcare law makes states an offer they can’t refuse. Whether to expand Medicaid could be the most important decision facing governors and legislatures this year. The repercussions go beyond their budgets, directly affecting the well-being of residents and the finances of critical hospitals. Here’s the offer:
- If states expand their Medicaid programs to cover millions of low-income people now left out, the federal government will pick up the full cost for the first three years and 90 percent over the long haul.
- About 21 million uninsured people, most of them adults, eventually would gain health coverage if all the states agree.
- Adding up the Medicaid costs under the law, less than $100 billion in state spending could trigger nearly $1 trillion in federal dollars over a decade, according to the non-partisan Urban Institute.