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AFP-UT: Improving Medicaid Should Not Include Expansion

Mar 5, 2018 by AFP

Grassroots group warns Medicaid expansion is a bad deal for current enrollees and taxpayers, hails alternative with proven track record

Salt Lake City, UT – Americans for Prosperity-Utah (AFP-UT) today urged the state legislature to oppose HB 472, which attempts to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in the Beehive state. HB472 calls for the expansion of eligibility requirements and a risky assessment strategy managed by the hospitals that puts Utah taxpayers at risk. The current proposal also carries no guarantee that the federal government will accept the proposal as written, forcing Utahns to pay for a program it can’t afford.

The group is urging lawmakers to improve the program by supporting SB 172, which implements work requirements for able-bodied adults under Medicaid. SB 172 would responsibly reinforce the safety net programs by encouraging efficiency and securing the needed resources for the intended recipients.

AFP-UT State Director, Heather Williamson released the following statement:

“Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is a path Utah should not go down. If we want to promote Utahns’ access to high-quality care, expanding a broken program that is plagued by poor outcomes for new enrollees is the last thing the legislature should do. The legislature should instead pursue commonsense measures like work requirements that empower individuals and enables upward mobility for able-bodied adults, while protecting the most vulnerable populations Medicaid was intended to help. We urge the legislature to reject this Medicaid expansion proposal and enact pro-work low-income assistance reforms that help Utahns escape the cycle of dependency and poverty.”

Background:

Last week, Office of Management Budget Director Mick Mulvaney released a statement opposing Medicaid expansion. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said the President’s budget repeals Medicaid expansion due to the “explosion of state and federal spending” and the “abundant evidence” showing new Medicaid recipients are not experiencing improved health outcomes.

Last summer, Utah sought to implement work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients. Utah submitted a waiver to the federal government that would require able-bodied adults to work at least 30 hours per week, or either attend school or training programs in order to receive Medicaid benefits.

Medicaid is simply not cost effective. Researchers from MIT, Harvard, and Dartmouth found that Medicaid recipients only receive about 20 to 40 cents of benefit for every dollar spent on Medicaid. Insurance companies, not low-income citizens, are the biggest winners of Medicaid expansion. Kaiser Health News recently reported that Medicaid insurer profits more than tripled in 34 states and the District of Columbia after Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

However, welfare reforms that require able-bodied adults to work, train, or volunteer have a proven track record of increasing employment and wages, while decreasing dependency.