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Grassroots group urges Tennesseans to reject Medicaid expansion
NASHVILLE, TN – Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN), the state’s leading grassroots advocacy organization for economic freedom, today urged gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean to protect Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens and the state’s fiscal future by abandoning his proposal to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
Karl Dean has been an outspoken proponent of Medicaid expansion and has committed to expanding Medicaid if elected.
AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable issued the following statement:
“Doubling-down on a failing program by expanding Obamacare is not the solution to address rising health care costs. Instead of more Obamacare, we should pursue supply-side reforms such as expanding nurse-practitioner scope of practice and repealing our certificate-of-need law to bring down health costs for all Tennesseans. Medicaid expansion, under Obamacare, hurts the very people it was intended to help – our state’s most vulnerable. Pregnant women, children, and disabled Tennesseans will find themselves crowded out of quality care for that of able-bodied adults. What’s more, every state that has expanded Medicaid has experienced serious cost overruns that will inevitably lead to higher taxes, cuts to other essential services, or both.
“Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion has proven itself a harmful policy in states across the country; Dean’s proposal to expand Medicaid would hand Tennessee the very same fate. If Dean or anyone else is dead-set on expanding Medicaid, at least have the intellectual courage to call it what it is: Obamacare expansion. If they won’t, we certainly will.”
The Tennessee Legislature rejected attempts to expand Medicaid through Obamacare multiple times. The largest push was backed by the hospital association and Governor Haslam under Insure Tennessee. Americans for Prosperity – Tennessee brought grassroots activists from across the state to encourage legislators to vote down the plan.
Other states that expanded Medicaid show Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is a fiscal nightmare. To take just a few examples: Illinois expanded its Medicaid program in 2013 and spending quickly grew out of control – the program’s cost went over budget by $800 million in the first year alone. Ohio ran nearly $1.5 billion over budget in its first 18 months after expansion.
Colorado, and Oregon are just a few states that have proposed tax increases to cover Medicaid expansion costs. Now Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Arkansas are asking the federal government for permission to roll back eligibility for Medicaid to rein in their programs. Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Ohio all used higher taxes in 2017 to fund Medicaid expansion.
Under Obamacare, state governments get $9 dollars for every additional dollar of spending on the able-bodied, expansion population, but in Tennessee that 90-10 split is only 66-33 for the traditional Medicaid population.
This difference in matching rates creates an incentive for states to prioritize the expansion population, instead of prioritizing the most vulnerable – the original purpose of the Medicaid program.