Thursday, July 12, 2012

Obamacare’s Medicaid Shambles

The Washington Post has a new story this morning on Democrat governors’ concern about Obamacare’s massive Medicaid expansion, coming ahead of this weekend’s National Governors Association summer meeting.  Among the story’s highlights:

  • “At least seven Democratic governors have been noncommittal about their willingness to go along with expanding their Medicaid programs, the chief means by which the law would extend coverage to millions of Americans with incomes below or near the poverty line.”
  • “‘Unlike the federal government, Montana can’t just print money,’ Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) said in a statement Wednesday.”
  • “Asked at a forum Wednesday to describe state reactions to the Supreme Court ruling, Dan Crippen, executive director of the National Governors Association, offered a one word reply: ‘confusion.’”
  • “Last week, [Democrat Arkansas Governor Mike] Beebe asked officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid whether, in the event of an unforeseen future fiscal calamity, Arkansas would be able to tighten its eligibility rules and still get the full federal match for those who continued to qualify for its Medicaid program.  To date, Beebe has received no answer.”
  • “In a letter to the governors Tuesday, [HHS Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius assured them, ‘I appreciate that states have questions.’  However, she offered little in the way of specific guidance, promising instead to address their concerns at a series of meetings scheduled in various cities across the country beginning July 31.”

Liberal advocacy groups have attempted to claim that states should not turn down the “free” money Obamacare will offer to the states in the form of a higher Medicaid match.  But this money is NOT free, in two respects.  First, the federal match comes from the massive new federal taxes needed to fund Obamacare – taxes which will harm economic growth and jobs nationwide.  Second, the state share of the Medicaid spending – including new administrative costs that easily could exceed $10 billion – will have to come from somewhere too: From cuts to education, transportation, and other state priorities, or from yet more destructive tax increases imposed at the state level.

Even some Democrat governors understand that money does not grow on trees, and the massive Medicaid expansions included in Obamacare will have major costs.  Unfortunately, the Administration and its liberal allies continue to ignore the fiscal implications of this unsustainable law, resulting in the current implementation shambles less than 18 months before Obamacare’s coverage expansions are scheduled to “go live.”