Morning Bell: Don’t Take the Money and Run
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation, June 11, 2013
You may have heard that Obamacare’s main plan for getting people health insurance is to put them on Medicaid.
Medicaid—which is supposed to be the federal-state partnership that serves low-income children, disabled Americans, pregnant women, and some seniors.
Medicaid, which is not quality health care and is losing doctors every year.
Medicaid, which is already so overloaded that the number of people on the program exceeds the population of France, Britain, or Italy.
But Obamacare presents states with alluring federal money… and governors are under pressure to take the money and run.
Unfortunately, giving in now doesn’t mean their financial pictures will be better later. Byron Schlomach, director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute, lays out the scenario facing Arizona:
This expansion would cost a lot of money we don’t have. Even with the federal government picking up most of the tab, estimates put the cost of expansion for Arizona at $125 million in 2016 alone. The yearly cost would rise as the federal share of the cost ratchets down to 90 percent. As the federal government’s financial condition worsens, states will likely have to pick up even more of the cost.
Heritage research shows that 40 of 50 states would see increases in costs due the Medicaid expansion. It may look enticing at first because of the promise of federal money—but there is no guarantee that money will materialize down the line, Heritage experts have explained.
>>> Share the Antidote to 10 Myths About Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion
Michigan is also divided on the decision—and in danger of buying into the myth that states could opt out of the expanded Medicaid program later if they don’t like it. As Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, puts it:
If Michigan Republicans capitulate to special interests and accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, they’re likely to make a big deal about a supposed ‘opt-out’ clause in the instrument of surrender, declaring the state can bail at some future time if certain promises and expectations don’t come true. Don’t bet on it.
There’s still time. And there are alternatives. States can stand up to Obamacare and do what’s in the best interest of their taxpayers and their uninsured residents.
Obamacare’s Medicaid Trap
Why the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion Is Bad for Taxpayers and Patients
Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.