Matt Mead on Health Care
Full implementation of the ACA begins in 2014 and Governor Mead said now is the time to prepare a set of conditions for Wyoming to submit to the federal government on a health insurance exchange and Medicaid optional expansion. "This body (the Legislature) has the opportunity to develop what we would like to see in that request. Now, perhaps the federal government will not agree to our terms. We can say no if they do not, but it is far better that we express our terms and make a request than to not make a request and get a package without our input. Let's view this as an opportunity for innovation."
As you no doubt know, I have taken steps to join the Florida lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. I understand the criticism in doing so--some because they like the Act, some because of the cost associated with the lawsuit.
I do not like the Act--in my view it is bad policy and too costly. This law will significantly increase our Medicaid rolls. Mississippi, for example, forecasts the overall cost to implement the Affordable Care Act in that state will be $1.7 billion over ten years, including $443 million in year 10 alone.
I am willing to fully test the legality of the law because it has implications beyond health care. It is not enough to say "no". We should continue to seek state solutions even as we fight the federal law.
Wyoming should join with other states in the ongoing legal challenge against the recently passed federal health care law. In my view the law is unconstitutional and infringes on individual liberties. The law will kill jobs, distress small businesses, and hurt future growth.
As Governors, we are writing to you regarding the excessive constraints placed on us by healthcare-related federal mandates. One of our biggest concerns continues to be the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which prevent states from managing their Medicaid programs for their unique Medicaid populations. We ask for your immediate action to remove these MOE requirements so that states are once again granted the flexibility to control their program costs and make necessary budget decisions.
Every Governor, Republican and Democrat, will face unprecedented budget challenges in the coming months. Efforts to regulate state operations impose greater uncertainty on our budgets for oncoming years and create a perfect storm when coupled with the current state of the economy.
Health and education are the primary cost drivers for most state budgets. Medicaid enrollment is up. Revenues are down. States are unable to afford the current Medicaid program, yet our hands are tied by the MOE requirements. The effect of the federal requirements is unconscionable; the federal requirements force Governors to cut other critical state programs, such as education, in order to fund a "one-size-fits-all" approach to Medicaid. Again, we ask you to lift the MOE requirements so that states may make difficult budget decisions in ways that reflect the needs of their residents.