State Rep. Josh Miller has authored HB 1465, a commonsense measure that will help protect our state budget from the looming fiscal impact that the Medicaid expansion program represents.
If enacted, this bill would require the state to seek a waiver from the Trump administration to stop new ObamaCare expansion enrollment. It should be noted that this bill would not throw anyone off their insurance. As long as those currently on the program maintain their eligibility, they would be allowed to stay on the program. But it would shut the front door to the program and no new enrollees would be able to sign up.
The simple fact is that enrollment in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is shattering projections. In Arkansas, more able-bodied adults signed up for this welfare expansion than state officials promised would ever even be eligible. When Arkansas first explored Medicaid expansion through ObamaCare, the Department of Human Services projected maximum enrollment at 215,000 able-bodied adults.
Yet in August of last year, enrollment in the program surpassed the 300,000 mark. By December of last year, that number was north of 330,000.
Arkansas is not alone in experiencing these overruns. A recent report from the Foundation for Government Accountability, takes a look at 24 states, of which Arkansas is one, that have experienced severe overruns in enrollment. Those 24 states have collectively averaged enrollment that is 110% higher than the original projections. Overall, each and every state that opted into ObamaCare expansion is facing a surge in Medicaid enrollment far higher than ever anticipated.
Freezing enrollment in the Medicaid expansion program will help protect our state budget. As enrollment continues to climb, so does the percentage cost of the program that our state will be liable to pay. By 2020, that percentage will be 10%, and who knows what the enrollment will be by that point if we continue to let it grow unabated.
This bill will also help redirect limited taxpayer resources away from a program composed predominantly of able-bodied, working-aged adults and toward the truly needy and other important budget priorities.
HB 1465 is a commonsense measure to limit enrollment in a fiscally unsustainable welfare program for able-bodied, working-aged adults. Given all the uncertainties that exist on the healthcare horizon, this bill is as commonsense as they come.