ObamaCare's High Risk Pools Put State Budgets At Risk


Risky business!

The Washington Post reports that 18 states have officially declined to participate in the new high-risk pools—which offer a subsidized insurance option to those with preexisting conditions—called for by the Affordable Care Act. My question is: Why would any state want to? According to Richard Foster, Medicare's actuary, the $5 billion set aside to seed the program will probably only last until 2012, and could even run out in 2011, putting already strained state budgets on the hook for the rest. And any state that opts out will still get the benefits, as the federal government, through HHS, will step in to offer patients a federally backed option.

Indeed, that seems to have been more or less what Georgia State insurance commissioner was thinking when he wrote to inform HHS director Kathleen Sebelius that his state would not be participating. "I have no confidence that this so-called temporary program will not burden the taxpayers of Georgia. I am concerned that the high risk pool program will ultimately become the financial responsibility of Georgians in the form of an unfunded mandate," he said.

Nor was Georgia the only state concerned that the program would further crunch state budgets. From the Post:

In a letter Friday to Sebelius, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said the state, which will not establish its own high-risk pool, estimates that the $113 million in federal funds available to it will be used up within 22 months. Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William A. Hazel Jr., said Monday that setting up the pools "is an enormously complicated undertaking."

More on health care reform's fiscal effects here and here.

NEXT: Video of SWAT Raid on Missouri Family

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Really, Peter? You couldn’t think of a better alt-text?

    “Daaaaaaamn, this bitch is huge!”

    “I think my tire is caught in her navel.”

    “Why are those moguls wearing a bikini top?” (belated Winter Olympics reference)

    “Tom Cruise. (actual size)”

    1. “Who’s the U-Boat Commander?”

    2. Be glad you got Tom Cruise at all. He was a last minute substitution. The original image was a picture of Captain Picard.

      1. No Picard? You will pay for that Suderman! You. Will. Pay.

      2. The original image was a picture of Captain Picard.

        And, let the canceling of subscriptions begin…

        Nobody fucks with the Picard

        1. The Shat fucks with everyone, and everyone likes it.

      3. How is Picard “Risky Business”? Picard is a French man with an English accent. He gets laid once a decade. He actually follows the Prime Directive. He allows Wesley to live, and even worse, lets him live without being regularly beaten.

        Please explain yourself, Suder-Man.

  2. I cannot wait until our overlords provide us with our substandard care with long waiting times and high taxes. The bonus will be the new food laws and lack of medical innovation.

    1. The biggest bonus will be the brass ring: Virtual total control of the population. At least from the perspective of the cretins that voted for this travesty.

      1. That control is necessary, Jeffersonian. Without it, the plan won’t work.

        1. I, for one, welcome our future overlords.

        2. It won’t work with it, either, but at least the right people will be in charge.

  3. I know it’s unrelated, but maybe this is worth mentioning in the next post: Three dead in Greek protest against austerity plans

    Protesters clashing with police set the commercial building on fire as tens of thousands of Greeks marched to parliament, testing the government’s resolve in enacting deep budget cuts in return for billions of Euros in EU/IMF aid.

    In the worst violence since the Socialist government came to power in October, hundreds of striking demonstrators pelted police with rocks, chunks of marble and bottles, set garbage cans on fire and tried repeatedly to storm parliament, shortly before lawmakers began a debate on the belt-tightening measures.

    1. The government is broke and can’t pay their inflated salaries anymore. Burning down the country is clearly going to help.

      1. I would like more money. I also like throwing things and fires. It’s a win-win-win!

        1. Burn the entire country down. Turn it into Somalia on the Adriatic. I hear Somalia has great civil service benefits.

          1. I love Greek food!

          2. Somalia


          3. Wow, that Somalia crack is funny! 🙂

            Somalia is also known as “libertarian paradise” – to those who know absolutely nothing about libertarians and personal responsibility.

      2. So Obama’s not being niggardly enough?

      3. Maybe they’re agents provocateurs planted by the fire department to make sure that whatever happens, the firemen’s salaries aren’t affected.

    2. I don’t think it’s unrelated at all.

      1. I agree, it’s closely related because most of the world is FAB (flat ass broke) and we can either face up to the fact, or have a circle jerk while everything collapses. Either way it will get interesting.

        1. If the rest of us aren’t looking at what’s going on in Greece and thinking hard about our priorities are, we’re more self-absorbed and foolish than even I, a jaded cynic, had thought.

          1. It’s worse than you thought, trust me. Watch what happens when politicians–maybe–try to cut the salaries or pensions of our own government worker parasites.

            1. We’re seeing the foreshadowing of it now in Illinois, California and New Jersey. The altruism of selfless “public service” evaporates like a snowflake in Hell once the cash stops flowing.

              And remember, there’s no one to bail us out.

          2. I’m sure the Obama administration is working very hard on…figuring out how to blame it the free market.

          3. Unfortunately I think most of the US population either is unaware of what’s going on in Greece, or doesn’t see the relevance. Even in California, the fact that public employees have sucked the state treasury dry is just dawning on the popular awareness.

  4. Reason hasn’t yet delivered their daily kick-in-the-crotch Morning Links yet, so here’s a warm-up:


    1. I liked that article, you should be getting a hat tip for that.

      Does it not seem that every time you see “mixed use”, or “sports complex” in print some citizens are facing inevitable sodomy.

      Keep it up elected officials. Because there is one sure way to turn people libertarian; fuck people over using the government.

      1. Government has been fucking people over for centuries, and we’re still only just keeping the libertarian name above water, public-image-wise, according to Nick’s post yesterday. Either people are just that obtuse, or they think they’re in on the fucking.

        1. True.

          *places gun in mouth*

  5. DanD, put your cup on before you read the Balko post right below this one.

  6. We would never have known about this if the Bill had not passed.

  7. I would like more money. I also like throwing things and fires. It’s a win-win-win!

    Are you a school teacher?

  8. “I have no confidence that this so-called temporary program will not burden the taxpayers of Georgia. I am concerned that the high risk pool program will ultimately become the financial responsibility of Georgians in the form of an unfunded mandate,” he said.

    Which is much worse than having it become the financial responsibility of all U.S. taxpayers in the form of an unfunded mandate.

    1. Oh, I don’t know. I think it is a LOT harder for the Democrats who worked as midwives for this Obama-Pelosi Lovechild that should have been aborted. They will WANT to cover this stinking cespool up as quick as possible, but If NO state wades into the Sewage Treatment Plant, then the stink becomes ALL THEIRS!!! I hope California Signs on for this, though. Then the Feds will stick THEM with the bill, and I am sorry, but anyone who supports Pelosi deserves the consequences!!!

  9. No surprise there. In the end we (the sheeple) always end up with the short end of the stick!


  10. “I have no confidence that this so-called temporary program will not burden the taxpayers of Georgia. I am concerned that the high risk pool program will ultimately become the financial responsibility of Georgians in the form of an unfunded mandate,”

    To Barack, Nancy and Harry

    1. I’ve no idea why that link didn’t work.

      I used to be able to op-test links in preview before posting here. Alas that is no longer possible (your comment now disappears when you return).

      1. Right click. Then choose “open link in new tab”. Works like a charm for testing.

        Unless you’re not using Firefox, then I don’t know what to tell you.

      2. you forgot the f in ‘href’

  11. Every once in a while, i’m glad i live in Virginia.

    1. Ah ha ha…this explains why you talk like Foghorn Leghorn.

    2. Don’t be. Any state that includes Fairfax County has something horribly wrong with it.

      1. The sheer amount of self-important spoiled fucking college students that are infused in this cesspool(Fairfax) is a testament to that.

  12. Wait a minute- insuring all these people is going to COST money? I was under the impression it was going to MAKE money. I don’t have an inkling how, but that’s what i was told.

  13. But don’t you understand. It’s all free. Free, unlimited health care for everyone. They wrote it down on a piece of paper and signed it into law, therefore it must be true.

    1. Indeed.

      Legislative decrees always make it so.

      I hear Oabam is planning to repeal the law of gravity next week.

      1. And brown will be green and green will be blue and blue will be red. Its the LAW, don’t you know!!!

    2. We’ve got it all covered.

      1. I’d believe you but I think I have a unicorn horn shoved up my …

  14. One of the few times in recent history when I have been proud to hail from the not-all-that-bad state of Georgia.

  15. Interesting if misinformed comments. Check out Mass. They have been doing the high-risk pool since Romney signed their health care reform bill into law. There are so many benefits to this new law. But, you would have to actually check it out to know that.

  16. Of course ObamaCare will prove to be problematic and create (most likely, like technological advances also) just as many problems as it may intend to address. It’s the nature of problems for which we have no pragmatic solutions, and in the eyes of many means that we really do not have a health care issue / problem.

    However, to the extent that either side of the aisle has an interest in improving the health of citizens through any means possible, it is necessary to recognize two very fundamental issues:

    1) The politicalization of the issue, or utilization of an ideological approach, will not result in an effective solution, because most human beings are not sufficiently self-motivated to pursue optimal health. It’s just not going to happen.

    2) Because of our (minimum of) two party governmental system, ANY bill generated will be ineffective because it is a moderate, piecemeal, compromised approach to health. Imagine giving kids a vaccine which has been diluted, watered down, or adulterated with all sorts of ingredients not essential to attacking the disease.

    Why do ANYTHING if it is not going to be effective? Why waste the time and the money pursuing goals through ineffective means?

    This issue will NEVER be resolved by either side as long as people have freedom of choice. It’s the nature of human beings.

    As Dirty Harry once said, “A man (or humankind) has to know his (or its) limitations.

  17. Too many people have already died, lost their hard earned treasures, physically suffered needlessly because of immoral insurance commissioners, uncaring legislators and or governors. If you are blessed to live in a state that has a high risk pool, or guranteed issuance, you should be thankful. Most states do. The federal government had to step in, for those who didn’t.

  18. I love corporations. They take good care of me. They really care more than governments do. Corporations will always make better choices without government interventions. Anything that does not support the existence and well being of our Corporate friends is just some socialist subversive movement. It’s probably to turn America into a communist state. I wish Corporations had a dick so that I could suck it. That dick’s cum would be dollar bills trickling down it’s urethra put there by the grand Capitalist Reagan. I can just feel those dollars trickling down my chin and into my pocket. God bless Capitalism and Corporatism and Libertarianism and NO Government intervention especially in the bedroom except for Abortions and except for Roads… No I take that back give the roads and the schools to the corporations because they will get better for at least 10% of us. Long live the free market! Viva El Mercado Libre!

  19. Fuck the Poor! They shall inherit my boot up their ass. Profit maximize the poor into oblivion. Fucking poor, lazy people all of them. They deserve to get trampled by the bottom line. Who invited them anyway? Send them to Mexico with the migrant workers and illegals. We don’t need the poor! Poor bitches. Corporations will make a robot who will clean my toilet and will never spit in my food because I am an arrogant self important asshole. They should all become upper-middle class or better if they want to stay in America. Participate in the American dream or get out! Losers! If you are reading this I bet you were never STUPID enough to be poor! Those people don’t deserve health care.. that is not how natural selection works. Adolf is committed to creating the master race.. succeed or die now. If their kids are sick it is surely because nature wants to cease reproduction of their weak DNA. Let ’em die! Nits make lice. Lame shitheads holding us back!!!

    Jesus needs more rich people. Jesus would hate Obama. He is committed to the losers in this country. Jesus hates socialistic things like public schools and welfare. Reagan is Jesus’ best ever friend. Jesus smiles when Obama bombs Muslims. Jesus likes military contracts and maximized profits. Jesus would be the CEO of AIGFP. He is a capitalist.

  20. Peones. Quizas, han perdido algo del mundo. Luchen mas para entender, de veras, como funciona. Somos humanos y que no funciona tratarnos como animales. Que tengen su “mercado libre” pero despues de que les cuidamos los menos afortunados. Ser honesto no lo creo que ya no lo entienden. Si de verdad es asi y estan fingiendo que no lo entienden pues Ya! Basta! Ayudanos con pocas politicas los pobres y entonces luchan para crear un mercado libre con unos barreras o limitaciones que tambien sirve para protejerla a si misma. Suerte en eso y gracias por su tiempo.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.