Who do you trust on heatlh care costs?

The Texas Tribune reported today on a new study relesased by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Health Care Reform Could Cost TX Only $4.5 Billion?

In an ironic twist, states that have done the least to bring low-income residents onto state Medicaid rolls — including Texas — stand to benefit the most from federal health care reform, according to a report released this morning by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.Texas officials have filed suit to prevent health care reform from taking effect. They’ve also predicted massive costs to the state, to the tune of $25 billion over the next decade. But the Kaiser study projects costs to the state that are just a fraction of what Texas officials have estimated. And it notes that Texas — partially because it has had low Medicaid eligibility for so long — will get more bang for its buck in the new system than almost any other state.

[..]

“There will be large increases in coverage and federal funding in exchange for a small increase in state spending,” the report notes. “States with low coverage levels and high uninsured rates will see the largest increases in coverage and federal funding.”

Of course the spokesperson for the Texas Human Services Commission, Perry appoints the commissioner, tried to take issue with the Kaiser numbers but didn’t get very far.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission says the state has examined the Kaiser study on adult Medicaid expansion under the federal health law “and found that our basic assumptions are very close.”

State spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman complained, though, that the study — sponsored by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured — left out higher state administrative costs and the state’s costs of maintaining rate hikes for the primary care docs that are federally paid just for two years, 2013 and 2014.

“We just think they erred in leaving those very real costs out,” Goodman said. [Emphasis added].

Kaiser Commission president Diane Rowland, though, responded that Texas has omitted from its cost estimates the lowered state and local costs of paying for uncompensated care.

“If that uncompensated care burden goes away and is replaced with individuals who carry insurance coverage, it really has a large offset to the cost of implementing the Medicaid expansion,” Rowland said.

In reality they’re not very close, Kaiser says it will cost the state $4.5 billion, HSC estimates $25 billion. But the question we all have to ask is who do we trust in this situation? A respected third party like Kaiser or a commission headed by a Perry appointee?

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