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Health law a good deal for states, report says

WASHINGTON — States will receive more than $9 in federal money for every $1 they spend to cover low-income residents under President Obama’s health care law, according to a nonpartisan analysis released Monday.

Expanding Medicaid to cover about 20 million more low-income people will cost over $1 trillion nationally from 2013 to 2022, said the joint report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute.

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But the analysis found that states will pay just $76 billion of that, a combined share of roughly 7 percent. The feds will pay the other $952 billion.

Under the law, Medicaid will be expanded to cover people up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $15,400 for an individual.

It’s mainly geared to low-income adults with no children at home, who currently cannot get Medicaid coverage in most states.

Washington pays all of the cost for the first three years, gradually phasing down to 90 percent.

Massachusetts and a few other states will actually come out ahead because they already cover low-income childless adults and will be able to reap a more generous federal matching rate.

For the Bay State, those savings come to about $4 billion over 10 years, or about 4 percent of its Medicaid spending, according to the report.

Republican governors have resisted the Medicaid expansion, saying it adds an unacceptable burden to already strained budgets. And the Supreme Court handed the governors a victory this summer, ruling that states are free to reject the Medicaid deal.

Medicaid is one of the two main ways that Obama’s law expands coverage to most of the 50 million uninsured US residents.

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