The trade group, which represents both nonprofit and for- profit Medicaid plans, also opposes the tax because it takes money from Medicaid programs that could be used to pay plans to improve care, he said.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services declined to comment on how states and the federal government are covering part of the tax.
Timothy Jost, a consumer advocate and law professor at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, said the lawmakers intended to cover the costs of the law by including as many groups paying in as possible.
While it may be unusual for the federal government to essentially tax itself, Jost said the situation is no different from the federal government paying a contractor to provide a service, then having that contractor use some of those dollars to pay state sales tax or federal income tax.
“This tax should not have surprised anyone, and it should have been worked into contract prices,” he said.
Paul Van de Water, senior fellow with the left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said neither health plans nor states should be complaining about the taxes because both are benefiting from the law.
“States are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act because with more people getting insured, it is driving down their uncompensated care costs,” he said. He noted that is true even in states that did not expand Medicaid under the health law.
“People always like to get a benefit and not have to pay for it,” he said. “If we did not have this tax, we would have had to raise the money somewhere else.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Wed, Aug 27 2014