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Repealing Obamacare carries a big price tag in Delaware

Delaware Public Media

Delaware lawmakers may have to pay out another $100 million should Congress and president-elect Donald Trump (R) scrap the Affordable Care Act.

The law- also known as Obamacare - incentivizes states to expand Medicaid programs nationwide, allowing those with higher incomes to enroll.

State health secretary Rita Landgraf says Delaware may have to cover the $100 million the feds currently pay for here if they don’t restructure Medicaid.

“My hope is that both Congress and president elect Trump will look at any unintended consequences relative to any changes to the [Affordable Care Act],” Landgraf said.

She says she doesn’t see any changes affecting the upcoming fiscal year, but adds the incoming Carney Administration should prepare for the possibility of shrinking the amount of people enrolled in Medicaid.

About 10,000 more Delawareans are enrolled in Medicaid after the state expanded the program in 2014.

Community members and healthcare groups also spoke out Tuesday after state health officials didn’t include funding for medical school student hopefuls in their proposed $1.2 billion budget - a 3.6 percent increase above current spending.

Earlier this year, the Joint Finance cut $1.9 million in funding for two programs that reserve spots for Delaware medical and dental students at colleges in Philadelphia.

They eventually paid the bill using financial settlement money, but left the budget line items blank.

Tuesday afternoon, state health officials didn’t include the programs in their early budget hearing, prompting an outcry from healthcare lobbying associations and others.

Landgraf says it was left out because her department faces so many other priorities this year, but sidestepped a question about whether it should be funded in the future.

“I think Delaware is going to be facing some significant challenges relative to where we are fiscally and that’s going to come into play and with the other things that you heard from my department, we still have a pretty significant addiction epidemic.”

More than 200 Delaware students were enrolled during the most recent fiscal year, according to health officials.

Advocates are hopeful the money will surface during Joint Finance Committee hearings beginning early next year.

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