Medicaid Myths in Denver
The Denver Post’s Tim Hoover and Jennifer Brown have done a disservice to their readers with their weakly reported April 22 story “Federal funds will help enroll more people in Medicaid.”
First, the Post reports that a new hospital fee “would be matched by an equal amount of federal funding.” Simply false. The fiscal note done by the Colorado legislature shows the fee will raise $629,365,211 compared to $508,827,172 in federal funds. Do Brown and Hoover wish to pay to make up that more than $100,000,000 gap?
Second, the Post claims “the bill says hospitals can’t explicitly pass the fees on to insured patients in a line-item on their medical bills.” But the bill imposes a 5.5% fee on all hospital patient revenues. Whether the fee is raised through a line-item or not, hospital patients will be paying for it.
Third, the Post claims the fee will expand coverage “for at least 100,000 more insured people over several years.” But the legislature’s fiscal note only identifies a propable 7,600 disabled buy-in, 43,000 new adults, and 21,000 new SCHIP enrollments. That comes to 71,600 more insured people. But SCHIP research shoes that about 60% of SCHIP enrollees already had insurance. So take out 12,600 from the SCHIP number and the new hospital fees will really only cover 56,000 more people … a little more than half what the Post trumpeted.