SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) on Thursday, opposed a massive Democratic initiative to increase state spending on Medicaid programs by nearly $3 billion by the year 2020.
At issue was Senate Bill 26, which greatly expands eligibility for Medicaid in advance of the formal launch of the Federal Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare." It is estimated that SB26 could add over 600,000 people to the state’s Medicaid rolls if it becomes law on January 1, 2014. The expansion is state voluntary under Obamacare, not mandatory.
“While making health care services more accessible is a laudable goal, this bill simply goes too far and costs too much money at a time when the state can't pay its current bills,” said Senator Syverson. “After the federal money runs out, state taxpayers are on the hook for potentially billions of dollars we don’t have.”
In addition to a potential $3 billion cost to state taxpayers, there are also hidden costs in future years. Taxpayers face an additional $300 million per year expense after federal reimbursement for doctor’s fees run out.
“The legislature already put 250,000 people from Cook County on Medicaid rolls early, and this bill could force thousands more there,” said Syverson. “We need to decrease spending rather than increase it by billions of dollars.”
Additionally, under the Affordable Care Act, working families can receive a tax credit to purchase private insurance allowing individuals to maintain health coverage with private carrier of their choice, allowing them to keep the doctor of their choice. Under this legislation, working families earning less than 138% of poverty, approximately $34,000 a year would not be allowed to purchase their own coverage and could only go into the Medicaid plan.
“When the Affordable Care Act was passed, the President looked into the camera and said to the American people you will be able to keep your own physican. That promise didnt last long as this law now forces these families into the government program. Syverson said
The measure was approved by the Illinois Senate Feb. 28 with only Democrat votes and now goes to the State House.