AFP-VA Comments on Medicaid Expansion Poll

Jan 17, 2018 by AFP

RICHMOND, VA – Americans for Prosperity-Virginia (AFP-VA) today responded to a recent poll showing a majority of Virginians support Medicaid expansion. The state’s leading free-market grassroots organization has consistently supported patient-centered reforms to expand the supply of medical care to provide better health, for more people, at a lower cost. AFP has long opposed Medicaid expansion as perpetuating a two-tiered society by trapping the least fortunate in a system that causes poor health outcomes.

“The premise of this poll is obviously skewed as most people do not want less or lower quality care. Giving someone a Medicaid card does not mean they will have access to affordable, high-quality care,” said AFP-VA State Director JC Hernandez. “Medicaid is rampant with long wait times and low acceptance rates among doctors. We agree that Virginians should have high-quality care at low costs, but expanding Medicaid would have the adverse effect and serve only to crowd out finite resources for those who truly need it. Virginia should stay clear from going down this path and instead enact state-based reforms that will bring stability to Medicaid while separately creating more options for quality health care for all Virginians.”

The report also cited hospital officials estimates that Medicaid expansion would “free up” about $400 million for the state’s general fund. However, Medicaid expansion has resulted in numerous states leaving taxpayers to hold the bag when federal subsidies decrease.

Background:

Medicaid was intended to help just the most vulnerable Americans like the elderly and the disabled, but its expansion to able-bodied, childless, working-age adults would create an unsustainable burden on taxpayers and crowd out resources for those truly needy populations.

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.

A recent Richmond Times-Dispatch column suggests that Gov. Northam and the legislature could pursue improved access to health care without Medicaid expansion by expanding scope of practice for nurse practitioners or repealing the state’s Certificate of Public Need requirements.

Also, states that have expanded Medicaid have experienced exploding costs and general failure:

  • Ohio: National Review published an article highlighting Medicaid Expansion failure in Ohio.
  • “Ohio’s Medicaid-expansion enrollment was 720,000 in fiscal year 2017, at an average cost of $437 million per month. Since January 2014, the expansion has cost state and federal taxpayers a total of $14.9 billion. Because Kasich so dramatically underestimated enrollment, state costs have already doubled his projections. Federal spending on Ohio’s Medicaid program (including traditional and expansion enrollees) increased by 48 percent from 2013 to this year, while state spending increased by 14 percent.” (Jason Hart, Opinion, “Why John Kasich Is Fighting The New Health-Care Bill,” National Review, 09/19/17)
  • Massachusetts: Modern Healthcare published an article highlighting Massachusetts’ struggle to cover the rising costs of Medicaid expansion:
  • “As the federal government no longer covers the total cost of expansion, Massachusetts said it needs to slim down the program because the costs are unsustainable.”
  • “‘At 40% of the commonwealth’s budget, MassHealth’s continued growth will constrain the state budget unless significant reforms are implemented and key aspects of the program are restructured,’ Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary, said in a Sept. 20 letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.” (Virgil Dickson, “Massachusetts Seeks To Move Adults Off Medicaid, Limit Drug Coverage,” Modern Healthcare, 09/27/17)

 

For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at LIsidro@afphq.org or (703) 887-7724. 

 

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

###