We believe that any discussion of Medicaid should begin with its track record on patient health. On that score, Medicaid is an abject failure:
- Medicaid recipients consistently fare poorly on medical access and outcomes. Their access to doctors and specialists is significantly lower than those with private insurance or even the uninsured. Their death rate in hospitals following surgery is twice as high. And children on Medicaid have much longer waits to see doctors, along with a higher chance of being turned away at the hospital door.
- It’s already a massive program with about 60 million people covered. The Congressional Budget Office estimates expanding it will add about 17 million people to the program.
Medicaid expansion is also an expensive endeavor that will likely force the state to cut funding from other areas of the state budget.
- Expansion will cost Kansas taxpayers between $822 million and $1.39 billion over the next 10 years. This amount is AFTER the federal government’s promise to pay all of the expansion cost for the next three years and 90 percent of the cost after that.
However, Kansas’ share of the bill could be much higher than $1.39 billion when the following is taken into account:
- The White House has already started backing off the initial promises to foot the bill, which means Kansas taxpayers will pick up the tab for what the federal government does not cover.
- The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities predicts a change in federal funding levels will prompt states to cut payments to providers, and to scale back services for Medicaid recipients.
Even if the federal government comes through on the promise to cover Medicaid expansion, Kansas will still be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars:
- Regardless of whether the federal government delivers on its promise, we will still have to decide what we can afford. Adding this much additional spending to our budget means deeper cuts elsewhere in the budget.