State leaders face a legitimate conundrum when it comes to deciding whether to buy into the health care expansion, said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization based out of Washington, dedicated to eliminating federal budget deficits.
Though health care costs have actually fallen in recent years after a dramatic ramp up, estimating future health care costs is a complicated business, Bixby said, in part because they are driven by human behavior.
Lawmakers in Florida may worry that if the Obama administration underestimated costs at a time when Congress is on the hook to tame its deficit-spending ways, the state could be left “holding the bag,” Bixby said. “I think that’s a legitimate issue to think about.”
But publishing estimates based on a suspicion that the federal government won’t pony up smacks of politics, he said.
“If I were doing a cost estimate, I’m not sure you can program in that the federal government is not going to pay (what it pledged) and it would, in fact, pay X percent,” Bixby said. “That’s kind of making something up.”