For its part, the Mountain States Group didn’t want to discuss its use of tax dollars to lobby for more government health care in Idaho.
“Thanks, but we’ll let our report speak for itself,” the group’s Lauren Necochea responded to a host of questions from IdahoReporter.com.
As for the report itself, at least one critic suggests the group’s assertions are flawed. Nic Horton, a policy impact specialist working for the Foundation for Government Accountability, disputed the idea government saves money expanding Medicaid.
“You can’t add almost a hundred thousand new people to welfare and save money,” Horton said. “That’s just silly.”
The Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy’s report suggests expansion will save the state and its 44 counties $173 million through the next decade. But it doesn’t mention the extra burden offloading those costs will put on the federal government.
“They want taxpayers to believe that adding nearly a hundred thousand able-bodied adults to welfare will reduce government spending?” Horton questioned. “It just doesn’t pass the laugh test.”
Instead of simply adding 103,000 new, able-bodied adults to the system, Horton suggested Idaho lawmakers should first examine large-scale program changes.
“If Idaho lawmakers are really interested in saving money, they need to look at reforming their existing Medicaid program, not creating a new welfare program that will make it harder to reform existing Medicaid, cost taxpayers billions, discourage work and hurt Idaho’s economy,” he said.