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Supreme Court, Day 3: Can the Mandate Be Cut Out?

A Key Question Tackled on Third Day of the Health Care Hearings

Medicaid Arguments continued...

The dollar figures at issue are enormous. Through 2016, the federal government will underwrite the entire cost of caring for Medicaid recipients who enter the program through the new eligibility requirements. The federal contribution will gradually decrease until it reaches 90% in 2020. In all, the states will receive an additional $434 billion in federal Medicaid dollars during that time.

The state officials complain that Medicaid expansion will nevertheless require them to spend at least an additional $20 billion of their own money on Medicaid, which is already a budget buster for them. Plus, they will have less control over what benefits they offer.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that although officials from 26 states have objected to Medicaid expansion, officials from other states welcome it.

“You are saying that because you represent a sizeable number of states, you can destroy this whole program, even though there may be as many states that want it, that don't feel coerced,” Ginsburg told Clement.

The court will issue a ruling in the case sometime before July.

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