I-Team goes to Obama administration for Medicaid answers - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

I-Team goes to Obama administration for Medicaid answers

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The 13abc I-team going to the Obama administration for answers about part of the new healthcare system.

Thousands in Ohio and millions nationwide are being added to the Medicaid rolls but questions remain on how it will be funded.  Some see it as a crisis in the making.

The I-Team took those questions to the President's point person on health care, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. 

Wednesday she was touting the success of the Affordable Care Act and urging people to sign up ahead of the March 31st deadline.  More people will be signing up, some of them for Medicaid.  And the question now is with 3.1 million people already signing up for Medicaid, how will that be funded?

Sebelius say Medicaid funding and the Affordable Care Act won't add to the deficit and are completely paid for. 

"The law itself contained a series of 'pay-fors' that came out of fees and taxes.  Came out of money from insurance companies and drug companies," Sebelius told the I-Team. 

With the Affordable Care Act more people are eligible for Medicaid.  A program Ohio and the Federal Government spent $1.38 billion on in December, the last month before the expansion.  The feds pay the full amount of the expansion for three years, Ohio pays 10% of it by 2020.  Either way it's your money. 

So will the bill fall to those on employer-offered plans?  Sebelius wouldn't say yes or no, but said it would be funded in a variety of ways including medical device taxes.

"On medical devices there is a small fee.  The medical device companies are going to have a lot more paying customers.  Pharmaceutical companies are going to have a lot more paying customers and in the meantime consumers are the benefits of some of those answers," said Sebelius. 

Through January more Ohioans were deemed Medicaid eligible than had signed up for plans through the exchange.  Sebelius says she's encouraged with enrollment numbers. 

"We were real thrilled with the uptick in enrollment in the months of December and January and we're continuing to see an increased enrollment," said Sebelius. 

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