The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will lead to a major restructuring of the nation’s health care sector. Not only will individuals be affected by new taxes and regulations, but state governments (and, by extension, state taxpayers) will also be affected by numerous provisions in the legislation. Some of these provisions will only impose a minimal burden on the states but others — especially the mandate to expand Medicaid — will lead to huge new burdens on state budgets.
Idaho has taken the lead in opposing this legislation. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden joined attorneys general from other states in filing suit to prevent implementation of PPACA. If this suit fails, however, the state will be left to implement the legislation’s provisions. All provisions are technically optional for states to implement; however, if a state does decide not to comply with the legislation it would stand to lose billions of dollars in federal funding.
This policy paper will look at the provisions that affect Idaho’s government, examine how the new federal programs will affect state taxpayers, explore the state’s options in implementing them, and suggest ways for the state to proceed that will protect state taxpayers as well as state health care consumers.