Yesterday we wrote about our members’ priorities for the legislative session.  They are:

  • Tax Reform
  • No Medicaid Expansion
  • Employee Freedom

Based on real-world data, our members believe the best way to stimulate our state’s economy is through tax reform.  You can read our blog posting about that issue here. Today, we talk about the second priority – No Medicaid Expansion.

Medicaid expansion is a key element of Obamacare. It’s one of the easiest ways to push people’s emotions and get them not to think about the long term consequences of such a poor policy.

As you may recall, when Obamacare was first passed, Medicaid expansion was not an option for the states. It was a requirement! Future costs be damned “thou shalt expand Medicaid!”

One of the silver linings of the Supreme Court judgement on Obamacare to date, there will be more, was that the Federal government could not coerce states into expanding Medicaid.  They got that one right anyway.

You will hear over and over again about how states that do not expand Medicaid are leaving money on the table. After all, the Federal government is going to pay for the first three years! How could you possibly not accept that “gift” and let your state’s money be spent underwrting other states’ expansion?

Aside from the fact the Federal government has an over $17 billion debt and is an unreliable partner there is nothing wrong with the “gift”. Nothing wrong that is unless you consider that it will cost states dearly for this free money!

Using data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a pro-Obamacare proponent, the Heritage Foundation put together the following chart showing the cost to Missouri’s taxpayers to expand Medicaid.

Heritage Medicaid Expansion 3-6-13

The supporters of Medicaid expansion think in true “government is the solution to all things” fashion that Missouri taxpayers spending $1.2 billion to save $60 million is a fantastic deal! Most Missourians don’t agree.

As to Missouri money going to other states in support of their expansion? Poppycock!

First, Missouri is a recipient state. That is for every $1 we send to Washington we get about $1.32 back.

Second, no state will receive more money than they otherwise would have because Missouri and the other 24 states don’t expand. Said another way, if all the other 25 states including Missouri expanded Medicaid, no state would get any less money!

The system is structured to pay based on services provided and number of people served in that state. So when you hear the Governor or other progressives repeat this falsehood, just ignore them. They aren’t being truthful with you or others!

Our current Medicaid program is broken. More and more doctors are refusing to accept new Medicaid patients. Doctors are not adequately reimbursed for their costs and they are saddled with signficant paperwork burdens. So, adding another 300,000 or so to the system will fix all that right? Only if you are a big government kinda person would you think that!

In fact, we know that Medicaid expansion does not save money nor does it result in significant improvement in healthcare outcomes! How do we know this? We have the “gold standard” of studies based on imperical evidence conducted in Oregon over the last 5 years known as the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment (OHIE).

You can read lots of stories about the study  including one in the left-leaning St. Louis Post-Dispatch Study finds Medicaid expansion drives up ER visits!

The study results clearly show that expanding Medicaid increases emergency department use increasing costs for hospitals, primary care physicians and prescriptions and doesn’t produce significant improvements in measures of physical health like blood pressure or cholesterol.

Proponents of bigger government spending via Medicaid expansion are undaunted by the emperical evidence that expansion is a failure in improving healthcare outcomes. Why then would the proponents be so exhilarated over this failure?

The only thing Medicaid expansion was “successful” in was re-distributing wealth.  One supporter was quoted as saying, “The outcome is that we have people who feel protected from (financial problems and) seeking care when they feel they need it.” emphasis added.

So everyone else working to pay their healthcare insurance, many at a higher premium with less benefits thanks to Obamacare, are providing for that relief in financial problems for others. Many of them are rightfully asking, who is watching out for me?

The solution is not to expand Medicaid adding more people to a failed program. It’s reforming the existing program so that those who are already on the program get what they should and we taxpayers who are providing the government assistance get our money’s worth as well.