Congressional Republicans warn that feds will run out of money to fund Medicaid expansion

05/15/2013 10:06 AM

Expanding Medicaid “is a big mistake” because the federal government and states won’t have the funds to cover it and taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay more, said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

“I think it’s going to lead to serious fiscal crisis in Kentucky. It’s going to lead to the necessity for higher taxes or more borrowing because Medicaid is extraordinarily expensive,” Paul told Pure Politics over the weekend while speaking at Republican events in Iowa.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced last week that he would expand Medicaid to cover those who earn between the poverty rate and 138 percent of the poverty rate starting Jan. 1, 2014. For the first three years, federal government will pay the entire freight for that expansion, which will cover more than 300,000 currently uninsured Kentuckians. Starting in 2017, Kentucky will kick in 5 percent and that tab will go to 10 percent by 2020.

Paul said Medicaid should be reserved for those who are most in need — the very sick or disabled. He said it shouldn’t be a safety net insurance program for “someone who looks like you or I and they’re getting out of their truck.”

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa made headlines Tuesday by slamming the immigration reform bill the Senate’s “gang of eight” proposed. He said he would rather vote for “Obamacare” than that version of an immigration bill.

And that’s saying something because King has been one of the loudest critics of the Affordable Care Act.

When asked about Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty rate, King said he doesn’t see how the federal government will be able to afford it.

“How to fund Medicaid is something we’ve been talking about in our behind-the-scenes meetings here over the last couple of weeks,” King told Pure Politics on Friday. “Another thing we’ve been talking about is if the federal government expands Medicaid and we repeal Obamacare, how do you get people off of Medicaid that have been put on it under Obamacare.”

Watch the 2:30 interview regarding Medicaid expansion and the potential for “entitlement reform” with King.

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