Matt Bevin Spent a Lot of Money On His Failed Medicaid Requirements

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

You could say we all saw this coming because we discussed this exact possibility earlier this year.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's plan to impose new requirements on people participating in the expanded Medicaid program under Obamacare required the state government to create a whole new bureaucracy to track and implement the requirements across the state.

And this new system included more than just work requirements. Bevin's new bureaucracy also included a "rewards points" program that rewarded people for 'good behavior' by granting them access to services they would otherwise qualify for under normal circumstances anyway, like dental and vision care.

As you might imagine, building a computer system and employing people to track these things in every district and at every health care provider in the state is a tall, expensive order and, in fact, the Kentucky has seen its administrative costs soar by 40 percent according to Fitch Ratings.

From Forbes:

“In its biennial budget, Kentucky’s Medicaid administration costs increased more than 40%, or $35 million, from prior biennium to $116 million, which Fitch partially attributes to implementing Medicaid work requirements,” Eric Kim, the lead analyst for Fitch on the report, “Medicaid Waiver Actions Limit U.S. States’ Cost Controls,” wrote. “In addition to systems development and ongoing monitoring for the roughly 200,000 Medicaid enrollees, Kentucky estimates could be subject to the work requirements and could also contribute to the higher administration costs.”

In a roundabout way, you might say the recent court ruling against Bevin's program -- a program designed to save the state money -- will still save the state a lot of money because administrative costs will decrease.

According to analysts at Fitch Ratings, it's possible the increased administrative cost of building and running requirement programs will always cost as much or more than they could ever save by kicking people off the rolls.

They expect other states will see the same results if they implement new requirements because they will also have to build new systems to track and implement it.

If other states pursue Medicaid work requirements, they may reduce costs by knocking more patients off their Medicaid rolls and increasing the number of uninsured in their states. But savings from spending less to cover poor people will be a wash, according to the Fitch analysis.

Direct costs for Medicaid work requirements could limit savings from enrollment declines,” Fitch Ratings report said. “Work requirements require tracking systems that few, if any, states have."

If we're being real, Bevin and other conservatives probably see this as a small price to pay.

Even if implementing new requirements costs as much or more than they would save by kicking people off the rolls, they may consider it an acceptable price for conservative social engineering.

If the real goal is to just kick people off the rolls at any cost, none of this will dissuade them. We already know the human cost doesn't dissuade them.

  • muselet

    R politicians hate those people! far more than they care about any of the things they loudly claim to care about.

    I miss sane conservatives.


  • Badgerite

    Jesus. That is the definition of stupid policy. I thought the gop was against “government bureaucracy”. So to that end the create a massive and expensive government bureaucracy to prevent as benefits from programs from flowing to the most amount of people in their state. And to achieve what? Answer, in reality, equals a sicker population for more tax payer money. That is just stupid. And what they are using taxpayer dollars to pay for is just the illusion that somehow citizens of their state on Medicaid deserve to be looked down upon. “Liberal elites” my ass. Liberals want Kentuckians to have access to health insurance and medical care. We think they have earned it and do not need to be made to feel like “welfare queens” for taking their children to the doctor. Go figure.

  • Nefercat

    You’re exactly right. Spending this money doesn’t concern them at all, especially as they will no doubt route fat contracts to cronies.

    As long as the money goes to themselves and their cronies and not to those people, you know, poor people aka constituents, they will not care.

    Especially since they will blame all of the costs on Obummercare.