Examiner: Medicaid Pac-Man devouring state budgets

pac-man-hd-07-535x535When Medicaid was created in the mid-1960s, it was intended to provide medical care for people who truly had nowhere else to turn—namely, individuals with disabilities and the elderly. But over time, the program has ballooned, now serving 76 million people.

Even worse, nearly 40% of enrollees are now able-bodied adults. There are close to twice as many able-bodied adults in Medicaid today as there are elderly and individuals with disabilities combined.

Medicaid’s rapid growth is no secret, and it’s cause for concern across the country. Those who work with state policymakers see it firsthand—state leaders realize how consuming Medicaid has become. From Maine to Montana, the overwhelming growth of the program is often at the top of their minds.

That’s because it quite literally dictates state budgets: Medicaid gets paid first. Everything else (including education, infrastructure, and public safety) gets the scraps. Continue reading

Townhall: Kansas’ March Towards ‘Medicaid for All’

ksleg_at_sunsetThis week, liberal Gov. Laura Kelly of Kansas announced her plan to bring ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion to the state, opening up the program to an unlimited number of able-bodied, working-age adults. But state lawmakers should be very skeptical of the alleged benefits of this “Medicaid For All” plan. Specifically, there are five major myths about the proposal that should be rejected, full stop.

Myth #1: Gov. Kelly’s plan is not ObamaCare but rather a “conservative” approach.

In reality, this plan is nothing short of a full ObamaCare expansion plan. If adopted, it would provide full ObamaCare benefits to ObamaCare-eligible able-bodied adults, using ObamaCare dollars, funding with new national debt. Plain and simple, this is a proposal to bring ObamaCare’s reckless expansion to Kansas. Continue reading

Townhall: Medicaid expansion is (still) not saving Arkansas hospitals

In 2013, the Arkansas legislature voted to expand Medicaid to able-bodied, childless adults through ObamaCare. One of the primary motivations behind this decision—if not the primary factor—was the hope that expansion would save hospitals from certain demise. But after nearly six full years of expansion and hundreds of thousands of able-bodied adults added to welfare, Arkansas’ hospitals are still struggling—and many of them have closed.

This comes as no surprise to those of us who can plainly see that expanding welfare doesn’t create jobs or bolster economic activity. (Indeed, it does quite the opposite.) But still, these hospital closures simply cannot be overlooked, especially as more states consider whether or not to bring this same nightmare home.

Just this week, news reports out of Arkansas classified the health of the state’s hospitals as “condition critical.” Continue reading

National Review: The Biggest Welfare Crisis You’ve Never Heard Of

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 2.30.01 PM

Medicaid is out of control and unsustainable. Work requirements could help.

It’s not the lead story on the nightly news, and it’s not generating millions of clicks online. It may be one of the most underreported, underappreciated public-policy crises of our time. That’s a terrifying reality because, left unaddressed, this crisis will come at great cost to America’s most vulnerable.

The Medicaid program is at its breaking point. Even before Obamacare lured some states into expanding the program to non-disabled, working-age adults, Medicaid was growing at an alarming rate. Now, in the Obamacare era, the program is growing even faster, siphoning more and more resources away from folks who truly depend on Medicaid for survival.

A new report, released this week by the Foundation for Government Accountability, gives a glimpse of just how serious the problem is.

Continue reading

National Review: Getting to Work in Maine

Welcom-to-MaineThe state of Maine has long been on the leading edge of welfare reform. Under Governor Paul LePage, it has reformed its food-stamp program by promoting work, resulting in former enrollees’ more than doubling their incomes the following year. Maine has also worked tirelessly to find and prosecute welfare fraud, going after those who steal limited resources from the people who most need help.

These efforts, combined with Maine’s rejection of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, have allowed the state to make the truly needy a priority. But Maine’s not slowing down. Continue reading

NRO: Three Medicaid Reform Lessons from Arkansas

ar-largemapArkansas made national headlines in 2013 when then-governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, struck a deal to make Arkansas the first southern state to expand Medicaid through Obamacare. Shortly thereafter, Beebe exited (stage left), leaving a fiscal, political, and moral disaster for the new administration to grapple with. But now, thanks in large part to the leadership of Republican governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas is taking significant steps toward reversing Obamacare’s devastating impact. Other expansion states should take note. Continue reading

The Hill: Fact check – ObamaCare hurts our neediest neighbors

Florida Residents Sign Up For Affordable Care Act On Deadline DayOne of the most significant yet underreported outcomes of ObamaCare is its impact on the truly needy. Before ObamaCare, our country maintained a safety net that was reserved for our neediest neighbors. The Medicaid program, for example, primarily served poor children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.

But ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion sought to change this. It sought to transform a safety net into an open-ended, free-for-all welfare program for non-disabled, working-age adults, the overwhelming majority of whom have no dependent children at home. Every penny spent on this new population is a penny that can’t be spent on the truly vulnerable. That’s just a fact.

Many of these individuals – nearly 600,000 nationwide – currently sit on Medicaid waiting lists, hoping to get additional services that states say they need but, due to limited funding, states can’t afford. Literally, states have said, “You need this service but we do not have the adequate funding to provide it for you.” As a result, these individuals sit and wait. Many of them will die before they ever get the care they need.

 Some might call that rationing. At best, it is misprioritization.  Continue reading

The Hill: Congress Should Take a Cue from Arkansas

By a vote of 55 to 32, the Arkansas House voted yesterday to pass HB1465. The bill, sponsored by Republican State Rep. Josh Miller, would require the Department of Human Services to ask the Trump administration for an enrollment freeze in the state’s out-of-control Medicaid expansion program. No existing enrollees would be removed but no new applications would be accepted. The bill provides what could be a blueprint for lawmakers in D.C. who are looking for options to unwind ObamaCare.

HB1465 flew through the Arkansas House Public Health & Welfare committee earlier this week by a vote of 13-6, even garnering the support of some previous Medicaid expansion supporters, including Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Wardlaw. Wardlaw, who voted for the initial expansion in 2013, was a Democrat at the time, but switched parties last November, just weeks after the election.

And Wardlaw is not alone. Yesterday, on the floor of the House, multiple members of both parties who have previously supported Medicaid expansion voted in favor of Miller’s commonsense proposal. Many of them voted for the original expansion proposal back in 2013.

The progression of HB1465 through the legislature is demonstrative of the political realignment happening not just in Arkansas but in expansion states across the country. Continue reading

The Hill: Unwinding ObamaCare Could Make Arkansas A Model for the Nation

ar-largemap

When Arkansas legislators and then-Governor Mike Beebe expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults through ObamaCare, supporters claimed their plan was something other states were closely watching and, before it was even implemented, was serving as a national model. What unfolded, however, was a fiscal and moral disaster that no other state dares to fully replicate.

Recent reports indicate that Arkansas’ ObamaCare experiment is nearly twice as expensive per-person as a conventional Medicaid expansionwould have been. If that weren’t bad enough, more able-bodied adults signed up for this welfare expansion than state officials promised would ever even be eligible.

Now as state taxpayers begin feeling the brunt of budget shortfalls and skyrocketing enrollment, one Arkansas lawmaker is working to stop the bleeding. Continue reading

Townhall: AR’s “Private Option” Is A More Expensive Way to Expand ObamaCare

health-care-costs-660x400Experts have long raised questions about the budget gimmickry involved in the Obama administration’s approval of Arkansas’ Obamacare expansion waiver. The Government Accountability Office even warned that the administration and Arkansas cooked the books to secure the waiver. But now, the state’s own evaluation of the program – spearheaded by one of the program’s architects – shows just how badly Arkansas got it wrong. Continue reading