Health Care Reform's Costs Rankle States

  • January 19, 2010

As Democrats in Congress work feverishly to meld separate House and Senate health care bills into a single blueprint for a historic overhaul of America's health care system, state leaders are bracing against the potential costs to states that they say could devastate already battered budgets.

Some states also are protesting that the legislation's efforts to set minimum standards for health insurance coverage across the country will “reward” low-performing states, while penalizing others that have already expanded their eligibility for Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor that is the nation's largest health insurance program, covering 60 million low-income or disabled Americans.

“It is not reform to push more costs onto states that are already struggling, while other states are getting sweetheart deals,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the few Republican elected officials to have publicly supported the president's health care reform efforts, said in his state of the state address earlier this month.

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