Smith Critical Of Affordable Care Act Costs


Governor Scott Walker’s Health Services Secretary will tell a Republican-led Congressional committee Thursday that the Affordable Care Act will drive up costs for Wisconsin. But, he won’t put a number to it.

For the first few years that it’s on the books, the federal health care law will reimburse states for 100-percent of the cost of some Medicaid recipients.Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith told reporters that could include nearly 22,000 Wisconsin adults without kids who are already enrolled in the Medicaid program BadgerCare Plus. But Smith is expected to testify that the law’s costs will outweigh those benefits, “The math just is not going to work out.”

Smith says that’s because the state is assuming that 113,000 parents and children who are already eligible for Medicaid now will sign up when the law takes effect, “I fully expect there will be a tremendous blitz, a marketing blitz, from the federal level, from every provider group, from every advocacy group in Wisconsin, telling people this a great new benefit and everybody ought to be showing up.”

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But Smith says the federal government won’t reimburse 100-percent of the costs for these people. It will only reimburse about 60-percent, which Smith argues will wipe out any savings to the state.

Smith acknowledged that the state had yet to run the math on its assumptions.Advocates of the federal law called them incomplete, since they don’t consider the differing costs of insuring different types of patients.