DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today he is joining with several other state attorneys general in studying provisions of the health care bill the U.S. Senate is considering that discriminate in favor of Nebraska’s Medicaid program at the expense of the other states.
The legislation requires that the states provide Medicaid coverage to anyone making up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. This move likely will dramatically expand the number of Medicaid-eligible persons throughout the country and increase the financial burden on the states. In an effort to secure Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s support — and the 60 votes necessary to end debate on the bill — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inserted a provision in the bill that effectively requires that the federal government absorb the cost of covering any new Nebraska Medicaid.
The Nebraska provision seems to give that state a permanent exemption from paying the new Medicaid expenses every other state will be forced to shoulder under the legislation. The other states will be forced to foot Nebraska’s bill.
“I have significant concerns about the legality of the U.S. Senate bill,” Suthers said. “This is not a matter of politics. In fact, it is a clear matter of equity between the states. Under this provision Coloradans would be forced to foot part of the Medicaid bill for Nebraskans.”