Gov. Jay Inslee and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said 700,000 Washingtonians would not be insured under the proposed GOP health plan unless the state came up with more than $2.5 billion a year.
Washington state would have to come up with more than $2.5 billion a year to pay for losses in Medicaid coverage expected a decade from now under the GOP health-care plan, said Gov. Jay Inslee in a Wednesday news conference.
It’s that or 600,000 Washingtonians would lose insurance they gained under Obamacare, said Inslee, as he and state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler added details to their earlier analyses of the GOP plan.
Kreidler estimated that another 100,000 Washingtonians would drop out of the state’s individual insurance market based on the GOP’s plan to issue tax credits based primarily on age rather than income as Obamacare did. That amounts to one-third of the state’s individual market.
Overall, Kreidler said the ranks of the uninsured in Washington would swell from the current 5.8 percent of the population to 15 percent under the GOP plan.
Previously, Inslee had said covering the Medicaid expansion population would cost about $1.3 billion because the GOP plan would reduce federal match payments starting in 2020. On top of that, Washingtonians would need to spend $351 million every two years to pay for certain state Medicaid programs Obamacare had funded, he said Wednesday.
Inslee also said the GOP’s plan to cap Medicaid payments at 2016 levels, plus inflation, would add another $1 billion in annual costs by 2028 because it would not keep pace with rising expenses in health care.
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“You just can’t call that health-care reform,” Inslee said. “You’ve just got to call that a travesty.”
The state assessment comes after the Congressional Budget Office forecast Monday that 24 million Americans likely would lose health insurance in the next decade under the GOP plan.
“We’re lowballing it if anything,” Kreidler said of the state’s assessment.
Inslee predicted that 24,000 veterans and their spouses stand to lose Medicaid coverage that the GOP plan would effectively phase out.
Republicans have made repealing Obamacare taxes their priority, Inslee said, including a tax on annual income above $200,0000 for individuals.
He called the GOP plan a “tax cut for the rich masquerading as health-care reform.”
Kreidler predicted that rural counties, which saw the greatest boost in Medicaid expansion, would be “hardest hit.”
Inslee said he would be calling Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation in an effort to derail the GOP bill moving quickly through the House after it was unveiled last week.
“Hopefully, they’ll be more willing to take my calls than they are to hold town-hall meetings,” he said.
State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said no one can now predict how many Washingtonians may lose Medicaid coverage, or may quit the individual market, considering revisions that may be made to the GOP bill.
Rivers, chairwoman of the Senate Health Care Committee, said this state’s lawmakers could also try to cushion impacts of whatever is approved by Congress and signed by the president.
In a statement, Rivers said she remains committed to the women, children and disabled for whom Medicaid was intended before Obamacare broadened eligibility.