More and more people are picking through the new bill and seeing the financial landmines hidden therein. Over at NRO’s Critical Condition, Grace-Marie Turner—head of the conservative Galen Institute—does a good job summarizing some of the problems. It’s a long post that lays out six areas of real concern, and I’ll let you read it for yourselves. But the potential devastation to the finances of the states stood out for me. From her blog entry:
4. Five little words: States and physicians have a new concern: Tucked away in the 2,700-page health overhaul law are five words that states fear will open the floodgates for lawsuits. Until now, states participating in Medicaid have been required to provide payments to physicians. But on page 466 of the new law, states now will be liable for ensuring provision of “the care and services themselves.” That means states are legally required not only to ensure that services are paid for, but that Medicaid recipients are seen by a doctor. Alan Levine, Louisiana’s health secretary, says this “leaves every state vulnerable to a new wave of lawsuits any time someone cannot access a service.” He says the added cost would be incalculable.
There’s an apt Yiddish saying for the mess we are in: Oy Vey!