Townhall: Arkansas is debunking myths about welfare reform

Almost exactly one year ago, Arkansas became the first state to ever implement commonsense work requirements for able-bodied, working-age adults on Medicaid—and the far Left freaked out.

Since that time, they’ve proceeded to outright slander the state, falsely asserting that the requirement would leave the state worse off, hurt Arkansans, and was nothing more than a “reporting requirement” designed to confuse enrollees with paperwork rather than help them find a job. They’ve waged an all-out war on work, even using the courts to try to (temporarily) thwart the will of Arkansans, who overwhelmingly support the requirement—Republicans and Democrats alike.

They’ve gone all out for a few big reasons: they want as much dependency as possible. They think a life-long welfare check is better for Americans than a paycheck. And they also know that Medicaid work requirements are a signature achievement of President Trump’s first term.

If they can stop Arkansas, they think they can stop work requirements from spreading to other states, increase dependency, and deal a blow to President Trump at the same time. For the far Left, it’s a win-win-win.

But there’s bad news for them: from Day One, they’ve been wrong about Arkansas’ commonsense welfare reform, and a new study from the Foundation from Government Accountability proves it. Continue reading

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

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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.

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The Oklahoman: Declining Medicaid Expansion a “Wise Decision”

ok-largemapEarlier this week, The Oklahoman editorial board published an editorial praising Oklahoma policymakers for rejecting ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. As evidence, they cited FGA’s new enrollment explosion report.

From The Oklahoman:

During the 2016 legislative session, there was a strong push to expand Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to obtain funding from the Affordable Care Act. Ultimately, lawmakers declined to take that step. It’s proving to be a wise decision…

A recent report by the Foundation for Government Accountability notes that expansion enrollment exceeded projections by 322 percent in California, 276 percent in New York, 134 percent in Kentucky, 90 percent in Illinois, 60 percent in Ohio and 51 percent in Arkansas.

That means the cost of the 10 percent state share for Medicaid expansion will be commensurately higher as well. And federal data shows that Medicaid expansion spending was 49 percent higher per enrollee in 2015 than what was predicted when the law passed in 2010.

At the same time, Medicaid expansion isn’t generating the savings supporters promised, such as lowering the use of emergency rooms for routine care.

You can read the full editorial here.

FGA Report: ObamaCare Expansion States More Than Double Enrollment Projections

health-care-costs-660x400Today, the Foundation for Government Accountability released a new report, authored by myself and Jonathan Ingram. We surveyed every ObamaCare expansion state, comparing enrollment projections to actual enrollment.

Here’s what we found:

Altogether, 24 states that accepted ObamaCare’s expansion released enrollment projections in advance and have since reported at least one year of enrollment data. In total, these 24 states promised that “only” 5.5 million adults would ever sign up for ObamaCare expansion. However, actual sign-ups have surpassed these projections – and not just by a little bit. Continue reading

Forbes: The Next Big Thing In Health Care

By Josh Archambault and Nic Horton

Why should the exact same treatment for pneumonia cost $5,000 in one building and $124,000 in another? Or the exact same infusion drug for a chronically ill patient that requires them every six weeks cost $14,000 per shot in one setting, but $28,000 down the street? Why should patients have to pay so much more, simply based on where they park their cars? The answer is simple: they shouldn’t.

But the black box of pricing leaves patients in the dark. As a result, the financial futures of too many American families are in jeopardy as their paychecks fail to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs.

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Health Affairs: ACA’s Section 1332, Escape Hatch Or Straightjacket For Reform?

In state capitols across the country, health care lobbyists and consultants are pushing a relatively unknown provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): Section 1332. According to some proponents, these waivers will “turbocharge state innovation” and will provide states with an “exit strategy” from the ACA. But is the hype true? Will Section 1332 waivers be as truly transformative to our health care system as suggested?

As policy practitioners who work daily with state policymakers around the country, we have seen proponents be overly dismissive—or perhaps even unaware—of the large practical and political challenges surrounding the implementation of these waivers. A serious, objective examination of the new Section 1332 federal guidance sparks far more questions than answers for policymakers. Continue reading

Forbes: First-Of-Its-Kind Study Shows The Power Of Work

Co-authored by Nic Horton, Jonathan Ingram and Josh Archambault 

For too long, thousands of Kansans have languished in welfare, without hope of a better life. But thanks to one simple policy change, many Kansans are now on the path to a better life.

Under federal law, all able-bodied, childless adults in the food stamp program are required to work or train for work at least 20 hours per week. But with help from the Obama administration, most states have been waiving those requirements in recent years. Last year, for example, more than 40 states waived these critical requirements, fostering a culture of long-term dependency.

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But in 2013, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback bucked the trend and instructed state officials to reinstate work requirements and time limits for able-bodied adults. Within three months, half of all able-bodied adults on food stamps had cycled off the program. Enrollment is now 75% lower for this group of adults than it was before work requirements took effect. Continue reading

Forbes: Governors Are Reducing Dependency

By Jonathan Ingram, Nic Horton and Josh Archambault — Mr. Ingram is Research Director,  Mr. Horton is Policy Impact Specialist and Mr. Archambault is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Governors across the country are leading a new welfare reform revolution. From Maine to Indiana to New Mexico, bold leaders are making common-sense changes that will preserve the safety net for the truly needy.

As this revolution continues to spread across the map, state policymakers need to know these policy changes – restoring work requirements for able-bodied adults without kids on food stamps – are already having transformative results for enrollees and taxpayers.

Work Waivers Foster Dependency

Although federal law requires able-bodied childless adults on food stamps to work or search for work, 42 states partially or fully waived that requirement in 2015. These waivers allow able-bodied adults to stay on the food stamps rolls indefinitely, regardless of whether they’re looking for work.

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It’s no surprise, then, that able-bodied adults are staying on food stamps longer than ever, costing taxpayers and the truly needy who rely on the food stamp program for survival.

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Forbes: Restoring Work Requirements Is Important Fix For Food Stamp Crisis

By Nic Horton, Jonathan Ingram and Josh Archambault

Over the last several years, even as the economy has started to improve, more and more Americans have become trapped in the food stamp program, now called the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” or SNAP.  In 2013, food stamp enrollment and spending hit all-time highs.

But a new report from the Foundation for Government Accountability provides governors and legislators with a roadmap to reverse this trend. The first step: getting able-bodied adults work-oriented and eventually off of welfare.

Able-Bodied Childless Adults Drive Food Stamp Explosion

So what’s causing the rise in food stamp dependency?

One key contributor is the growth in able-bodied childless adults on the program. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of able-bodied childless adults receiving food stamps hovered at or below one million.

But by 2013, a record-high 4.9 million able-bodied, childless adults were receiving food stamps. Federal spending on food stamps for these able-bodied adults skyrocketed to more than $10 billion in 2013, up from just $462 million in 2000.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Continue reading

FGA: Restore Work Requirements In Food Stamps

This week, the Foundation for Government Accountability published a new report on the growing food stamp crisis:

The food stamp program is one of the largest and fastest-growing welfare entitlements in the federal budget. Total enrollment reached a whopping 48 million in 2013, one of many record highs plaguing the program. Skyrocketing enrollment has led federal spending on food stamps to more than quadruple since 2000, reaching another record-high of nearly $80 billion in 2013.

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One key cause of this out-of-control spending is the recent explosion of enrollment among able-bodied childless adults. Although federal law requires these adults to work in order to receive food stamps, the Obama administration has awarded an unprecedented number of waivers to states, allowing able-bodied childless adults to receive taxpayer-funded food stamp benefits without working at all.

The problem may seem purely fiscal: food stamp spending is consuming a growing portion of the federal budget, putting at risk other critical spending priorities. But the consequences of this enrollment explosion go beyond just billions of dollars. The elimination of work requirements has resulted in more people remaining trapped in government dependency for far longer than they otherwise would, has kept more people in poverty, has stymied economic growth, and has contributed to a massive expansion of the welfare state.

Reinstating work requirements for able-bodied childless adults receiving food stamps has proven profoundly successful in decreasing food stamp enrollment, returning more people to work, and even increasing volunteerism.

The way forward for states is simple and clear. Governors should just decline to renew the federal waivers that have eliminated work requirements for able-bodied childless adults on food stamps. Doing so would reduce welfare enrollment, save federal taxpayer dollars, lift more people out of poverty, increase self-sufficiency, and spur economic growth.

The full paper — authored by Jonathan Ingram and Nic Horton — can be viewed here.