Since the last time we talked about state estimates of the cost of health reform, several more have put them out.
A few, in particular, struck me – Maine, Maryland, and
Wisconsin. Why, you might ask? Because these three states found that health
reform would save them money.
John Holahan of the Urban Institute suggested just this
when he put out some estimates of state spending back in May, saying that “the
states will come out ahead.”(My colleague Jocelyn Guyer blogged about his findings.) But much of what we’ve heard from the states themselves
has been “it’s going to cost us $(fill in the blank).”
Let’s start with Maine. An estimate put out by the state back in
mid-June, found that the state is projecting to save $31.8 million in 2014.
Wisconsin takes a longer view, estimating savings
of at least $745 million between 2014 and 2019. Maryland looks even more long
term, projecting savings of $1 billion over ten years.
As is always the case with state-by-state data, it’s
important to remember that each one is different (as are the assumptions the
states are using to come up with their estimates in the first place). Maine,
Wisconsin, and Maryland, have all been leaders in coverage and, as a result,
will now reap some of the financial benefits of health reform. Other states may
have to spend some money in order to see the coverage gains expected as the
Affordable Care Act is implemented (which given their current budgets can
understandably be seen as a daunting task).
But, the most important number to remember, whether your
state saves or spends, is 32. As a result of health reform, 32 million more
people will have coverage. How much is it worth to you to have a healthier America?