Medicaid Expansion – Politics, Policy and Principle

Governor Nixon and other big government spending supporters of expanding Medicaid are using the fact that some Republican Governors have flip-flopped on Medicaid expansion as a reason the Missouri legislature should do so as well.  Govenor Nixon was even quoted as saying that these governors didn’t do it for political reasons.  Actually, that is the only explanation for flip-flopping on Mediciad expansion. If you haven’t sent your email opposing Medicaid expansion yet there is still time. Click here.

It can’t be the fact that Medicaid expansion adds billions of dollars to the national debt.  It can’t be the fact that adding more people to a Medicaid system that is broken and yields no signficant improvement in health care outcomes doesn’t make sense for taxpayers or recipients.  When you go through the facts and not the political hyperbole, there is no reason left to expand Medicaid – except for politics.

The latest governor to flip-flop is Rick Scott in Florida.  He makes a weak case for doing it and is either woefully ignorant of good policy and prinicple or he simply ignores the fact that like Republicans in Congress with the debt ceiling and tax hikes has set himself and Florida up for a huge trap later.

According to an article in National Review and contrary to Governor Nixon’s pronouncement, politics is driving factor in many of the decisions.  It certainly appears to be the case in the Florida Governor’s decision.

But Scott’s low approval ratings were almost certainly the primary factor in his Medicaid expansion decision, says Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute. (Cannon served on Scott’s transition team in December 2010.) Scott’s approval rating is a mere 33 percent, and he is perhaps “vulnerable to a potential primary challenge,” according to a poll conducted last month by the Public Policy Center. (emphasis added)

Michael Cannon at CATO continues to do a great job of exposing the foolishness of Obamacare.  He does a particularly good job of commenting on Scott’s recent statement and with some inside knowledge as well.

The bottom line is that Medicaid expansion can be an alluring attraction for those worried more about politics than good policy or principle.

Rick Scott’s ObamaCare Flip-Flop

By MICHAEL F. CANNON

Word is that Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has decided to throw his support behind, or at least drop his opposition to, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. His formal announcement, which may come tomorrow, will receive much attention. Scott was an early opponent of ObamaCare. He parlayed that opposition into a bid for governor in 2010, and rode the anti-ObamaCare wave into office. Shortly after becoming governor, he announced he would not lift a finger to help the federal government implement the law. I followed all this pretty closely. I served on Scott’s gubernatorial transition team, at his invitation.

Now, it appears Scott doesn’t see the point in opposing the Medicaid expansion. Never mind that – according to my colleague Jagadeesh Gokhale, whom the Social Security Administration consults when making these types of projections – the expansion will cost Florida $20 billion over the first 10 years, and add 3 million Floridians to the Medicaid rolls. Never mind that many of those Floridians currently have private health insurance. Never mind that Medicaid will provide them inferior access to care. Never mind that expanding Medicaid would make those millions of voters dependent on government for their health care, and thus would expand the constituency for more government spending and higher taxes.

There is speculation that Scott made a deal with the Obama administration: he would drop his opposition to the Medicaid expansion in exchange for HHS approving Florida’s plan to put its Medicaid enrollees in managed care plans. HHS approved Florida’s plan today. But economists have shown that moving Medicaid enrollees into managed care increases state and federal spending because it lures more people into the program. So it appears that Scott supported ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion so that the Obama administration would support his.

Scott says he still opposes having Florida create a health insurance Exchange. Then again, he said the same thing about the Medicaid expansion. So in addition to whatever other damage his flip-flop does, he has squandered his credibility as an opponent of ObamaCare.

To reclaim any credibility on this issue, Scott would have to file an Oklahoma-style lawsuit to block the illegal taxes that the Obama administration is trying to impose on employers in Florida and the other 33 states that have opted for a federal Exchange. Or will he sell out Florida’s job creators too?

http://www.cato.org/blog/rick-scotts-obamacare-flip-flop

#2013Medicaidexpansion

Carl Bearden
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