@BGOV will regularly feature insight and background on the development of Bloomberg Government Studies from the analysts and reporters behind them. Here, Healthcare Analyst Team Leader Matt Barry shares the background on a study he wrote on his 50-state survey of Medicaid costs (subscription required).

Depending on whom you ask the cost estimates of the 2010 health-care overhaul vary widely. It’s been over a year since President Barack Obama signed the healthcare overhaul into law and opponents and supporters are clashing once again; this time over cost estimates for Medicaid from the health-care law for each of the 50-states.

Through the data compiled by Bloomberg, estimates of Medicaid costs of the 2010 healthcare overhaul for states varies broadly, and reveals that costs incurred by statehouses across the country could be much higher than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected. Opponents of the law claim it’s too expensive and supporters argue the opposite, claiming the law will save the government and private businesses money in the long run.

The legislation touches every aspect of the health-care system affecting health insurers, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, physicians and employers who provide coverage to their workers. Whatever the case may be the impact on state budgets is still large and the states that  provided data have wide ranging estimates, from costs of $27 billion in Texas to savings of $190 million in Kansas.

It’s important to note, the budget projections reported by states are lower than the aggregate estimates published on March 1 by Senator Orrin Hatch and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and higher than those published by CBO. My study relies on two key factors: direct reports from states and consistent time frames. There are several factors that can explain the variations of costs, for instance, some states deducted anticipated savings from the health-care law from their cost estimates. Also, states opposed to the new law may have an incentive to exaggerate the costs.

Matt Barry is a Senior Health Analyst for Bloomberg Government where his primary beats include Medicare, Medicaid, public health and prevention issues. Mr. Barry has over 20 years of health policy experience having worked in both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, non-profits and private consulting and public affairs firms. He has worked on issues ranging from payment and access issues under Medicare and Medicaid, to tobacco control policy, to rural health care, to childhood immunization policy