Affordable Care Act might expand coverage and withstand challenge but won't reduce health costs, Turner says

03/21/2012 05:59 PM

Even if it withstands Supreme Court scrutiny, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act isn’t likely to reduce the costs of health care but will succeed in ensuring more Americans are covered, said health care consultant Shannon Turner.

Turner, a former Kentucky Medicaid Commissioner and former official with the Passport program said on “Pure Politics” last week that she expects the Supreme Court to rule that the law is justifiable under the “necessary and proper clause” in the commerce clause. (4:00)

The measure — dubbed “Obamacare” by Republicans — passed Congress two years ago this week, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of requiring people have health insurance by the summer.

“I have a feeling that we’ll keep the Affordable Care Act, and I think what we’ll have to focus on is really well-thought-out changes,” Turner said. (4:30)

Most of the provisions go into effect in 2014, including a requirement to expand Medicaid so that it would cover additional people. And that will cost the Kentucky government more. Find out what Turner says the effect will be at 5:30 of the interview.

Turner said on Pure Politics in October 2010 that the CLASS provision — the Community Living Assistance Services and Support program — would become a problem. Its goal was to provide in-home care for elderly patients that would be paid for by a $65-a-month charge to workers. The Obama administration moved to eliminate it. (2:20)

“We were going to take all this money. No one was going to get a benefit for at least five years,” she said (2:45) but the benefits were never defined.

Some in Congress have suggested moving to a block grant system for Medicaid. Instead of the federal government matching state funds to pay for Medicaid to cover health care for the poor and disabled, the block grant system would mean each state gets a set amount of money.

“I think the block grant is sort of dangerous for a state,” Turner said (Find out why at 8:00 of the video above).

On Wednesday, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, used his floor speech to warn about the effect of the Affordable Care Act on state Medicaid programs. And he used Kentucky as an example.


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