Here is the price of ideology folks. The “free market” ideologues in the Corbett administration think that everything privately administered must, as a rule, be better and cheaper than anything publicly administered.
So they are bending over backward to reinvent the wheel and create an entirely new process for insuring people with the federal government’s Medicaid expansion money, rather than just putting it into the existing Medicaid program, as intended.
We’ve explained before why that’s going to be more expensive (private insurance pays higher rates to hospitals), but here is yet another thing that will make it more expensive than real Medicaid expansion, from today’s Inquirer:
Pennsylvania’s ambitious alternative to expanding Medicaid – a private-market initiative that Gov. Corbett says is designed to save money – would require 723 new state workers, about one percent of the current workforce.
The projected number of hires, detailed by state officials, is far higher than most states have needed and surprised some public-policy experts. Many states are adding employees to review applications and confirm eligibility, and to implement all the changes required by federal law. Those new hires typically are in the dozens. New Jersey, for example, said the contractor that coordinates its health benefits hired 38 permanent employees and 62 temps.
“The enrollment system is heavily automated for Medicaid,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University. “This is not being done by ladies with shoe boxes and pieces of paper.”
The Corbett people are claiming that CorbettCare will save so much money from better health outcomes that it will more than cover the 700+ new public employees that their fake Medicaid expansion plan requires, but there’s no getting around the fact that hiring just a few dozen new employees to expand Medicaid would be cheaper.
This all sounds really complicated, and it is, but the basic issue is that Corbett is trying to lavish some extra grift on private insurance companies and hospitals, and finance it with benefit cuts for Medicaid enrollees. Setting up a whole new system to administer the extra grift turns out to be more expensive and labor-intensive than just running the federal money through an existing program.
But the Republicans don’t care that this is actually more expensive, and buys fewer benefits, because Big Government or something.