Today, Congressman Peter Roskam released the following statement after the entire Illinois Republican delegation joined him in sending a letter to Barry Maram, Executive Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, inquiring about the impact that Speaker Pelosi's health care bill, H.R. 3962, would have on the State of Illinois:
"As the House prepares to vote on Speaker Pelosi's $1.3 trillion dollar healthcare bill, we think it is vitally important to know how much this legislation will cost the constituents of Illinois. Medicaid is already the single largest expense for the State of Illinois, accounting for 40% of all state taxpayer dollars. In addition to creating a new government-run insurance plan, H.R. 3962 imposes unfunded mandates on states to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid. Republicans are committed to meaningfully lowering costs and increasing access, but we believe Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill would make Illinois' already treacherous fiscal challenges even worse."
Mr. Barry S. Maram
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Prescott Bloom Building
201 South Grand Avenue East
Springfield, Illinois 62763-0001
Dear Director Maram,
Often overlooked in the healthcare reform debate is how the expansion of Medicaid would impact already strained state budgets. H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act as amended, mandates that states raise the Medicaid enrollment threshold to 150% of the federal poverty level. H.R. 3962 also raises the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to 91% of this expansion cost by 2019.
According to estimates by the National Conference of State Legislatures, raising enrollment eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level and capping FMAP at 85% would create a cost to the State of Illinois of $2.578 billion dollars from 2014-2019.
It is apparent that the additional expansion of eligibility to 150% of the poverty level will create an even greater burden on our state's coffers than the original bill. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that state spending on Medicaid would increase by about $34 billion over the 2010--2019 period.
According to a June report by Governor Quinn's Tax Action Board, Medicaid covers over 2.45 million Illinoisans, or more than 19% of the population, and this year will cost $11.2 billion in state and federal funds. In fact, Medicaid accounts for over 40% of state general funds and is the largest single state expense. For these reasons, we are requesting an estimate from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services of the projected obligations that passage of H.R. 3962 would have on the State of Illinois.
We sincerely appreciate your timely attention to this matter.