Obamacare dares states not to expand Medicaid
Local lawmakers have the right to refuse -- but businesses, poor residents and political careers may suffer as a result.
States and their lawmakers have the absolute right to reject the new health care law's expansion of Medicaid benefits and sniff at it derisively as "Obamacare."
However, they should also be aware that it will burden state businesses with Internal Revenue Service penalties and deny coverage to low-income citizens while legal immigrants get aid for their own coverage.
So far, 20 states, plus the District of Columbia, have accepted the expansion. Thirteen GOP-led states have declined, citing current Medicaid expenses and distrust of Washington. An additional 17 states are still weighing options and considering how more aid to low-income adults with no children at home will affect them.
In Arkansas, the Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe just struck a compromise in which the state will accept additional Medicaid money under the federal law but will use it to buy private insurance for eligible residents. The Obama administration hasn't weighed in on the move yet, but it's been deemed necessary if the state wants to avoid tax penalties for businesses and other politically uncomfortable scenarios.
Roughly half the nearly 30 million uninsured people who will get coverage as a part of President Obama's health care overhaul will do so through Medicaid, which has an income cutoff of roughly $15,860 per person. Middle-class Americans who don't have coverage at their jobs will be able to purchase private insurance in new state markets, helped by new federal tax credits.
However, states that don't expand Medicaid are putting their employers with 50 or more workers in a tough position. Those businesses face penalties if any of their employees have to get subsidized insurance through those new state markets, but not if those same workers are on Medicaid. Without the expanded Medicaid option, tax firm Jackson Hewitt says employers could be on the hook for more than $1 billion a year in penalties.
There's also the not-so-slight detail that U.S. citizens with incomes below the poverty level -- $11,490 for an individual, $23,550 for a family of four -- can get coverage only through the Medicaid expansion. Legal immigrants who are also below the poverty level, however, are eligible for subsidized private insurance.
That's a potential mess in waiting for lawmakers in immigrant-rich states like Texas and Florida, where declining Medicaid expansion could be construed as favoring immigrants over lifelong residents. That possibility has prompted outspoken Obama administration critic and Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to propose that her state expand its Medicaid offerings.
"Legal immigrants who are also below the poverty level, however, are eligible for subsidized private insurance. "
This bill was obviously written by democrats. Our tax dollars at work.
Can't voters and citizens demand our Senators and Representatives health care benefits (and they have incredible plans for themselves and their families) be STOPPED completely UNTIL the mess has been cleaned up for everyone else. Seems they should be the ones to suffer before their constituants. Something stinks about that.
"The average family will save $2,500 per year"
"You can keep your Dr"
"There are no death panels"
Well, this is just another socialist agenda media article. This healthcare reform bill is just a mess that in my option is going to unravel starting in Oct. For the business in the States that don’t participate in expanded Medicaid, how can the Federal Government tax for services that are not an option? How can I be penalized for something I can’t get? This is a BAD BILL that was not thought through very well. If Obama wants to tear this country apart, he is doing it at the State level. States have rights under the 10th Amendments and they are starting to openly fight for them. This is only going to get worse. I would guess that once the Federal government tries to tax businesses in States that don’t play along with expanded Medicaid, the lawsuits will start. I wouldn’t be surprised if the States helped and supported the Lawsuits. There are so many holes in this bill that it couldn’t hold potato chips.
How come legal immigrants get better insurance than me? I'm a natural born citizen trying to make my ends meet, I was injured and my insurance company has pushed me onto a S/S disability and get just enough to make my bills this suck ovomits sh it care and his policies cater to the immigrant askhole and why does our elected officials get to stay on their Cadilac policies and not oblamu care?
If you think about it, states could use this as way to lure businesses and boost their economy. What a great sales pitch to bring in businesses and encourage entreprenuership! "Bring your business to XYZ state, where you don't have to worry about Obamacare and all the BS that goes along with it."
The penalties only apply if the person buys insurance through an exchange established by a state. If the state isn’t expanding Medicaid it likely isn’t establishing an exchange, so the feds will set one up in that state. Since the federal exchange is not an exchange established by a state the employer penalties do not apply.
That is the way the law is written, some bureaucrats tried to write the rules differently, but have been sued by several states, so the Supreme Court will likely decide the issue.
The feds also do not have the authority to spend money to establish exchanges in states that decline to establish them, so those states may not have exchanges running in January. If they try to spend money without authorization they will be sued and injunctions will be issued.
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