Study: Health reform costs $1.1 billion, saves $1.7 billion

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to expand Kentucky’s Medicaid program will cost taxpayers more than $1.1 billion by 2021, according to a new state study released Wednesday.

But the study says Kentucky’s next governor won’t have any trouble finding money to pay for that expansion because the explosion of new health care spending it caused will generate $1.7 billion in savings during that same time period.

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The expenses account for the cost of new enrollees and federally mandated benefit changes beginning in 2017, the first year Kentucky taxpayers have to begin paying for the expansion. Beshear said the study removes the final reason critics have for not supporting the federal Affordable Care Act.

The amount state officials paid for the study by Deloitte Consulting and the University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute was not immediately available.