Senator Mike Johanns today issued the following statement after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report projecting that a Medicaid expansion with all costs covered by the federal government for all states would cost approximately $35 billion over three years. The CBO previously estimated the deal struck between Sen. Ben Nelson and senior Democrats, which exempts only Nebraska from the extra Medicaid costs, would add $100 million to the cost of the bill.
"The CBO report tells us that trying to erase a special carve-out that angered America by giving the same deal to all states would be enormously expensive and just plain bad policy," Johanns said. "The special deal for Nebraska was wrong; expanding it makes it even worse. Even today, Medicaid struggles to serve those already on its rolls, and a full 40 percent of doctors refuse Medicaid patients because the federal government can't foot the bill. Adding 18 million more people to an already limping program is not the reform Americans want and would have tremendously serious consequences."
The current Senate health care bill would exempt Nebraska from paying a percentage of the Medicaid expansion for the years 2017-19; the $35 billion CBO estimate for the same deal for all states is also for those three years alone. Thus this extension would cost approximately $12 billion per year in federal tax dollars in perpetuity.