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Arlington, VA – Lawmakers in Washington and across the country promise Medicaid expansion will deliver health care to America’s most vulnerable populations. With ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid in states like Nebraska and Utah, people should take note of the consequences it has on the people Medicaid was intended to help.
Under the Affordable Care Act, those very populations have been left lacking the care they need. Expanding Medicaid both incurs more costs and gives the wrong incentives for insurers regarding health care quality, placing the most vulnerable in society in a worse situation.
A compelling Wall Street Journal opinion piece illustrates the counter effects Medicaid expansion has had. Allysia Finley, writes:
“What seems to have happened is this: Recall that for the pre-ObamaCare Medicaid populations—those disabled and sick folks—states must pay up to half the cost. In an era of tightening budgets, they appear to have set capitated payments lower than the actual cost of care. Then when it comes to the able-bodied people covered by the ObamaCare expansion, the feds cover nearly the whole tab, so the states are profligate.
In other words, Medicaid is now encouraging insurers to spend more money caring for people who don’t need it and less for those who do. Thank you, ObamaCare.”
Instead of expanding Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, commonsense state-based reforms create more options for quality health care, while not exposing state budgets to cuts for essential government services and placing taxpayers on the hook for tax increases.
State-based reforms help shift the focus back to the patient, rather than creating more government-controlled, centralized health care. In many states, burdensome regulations cause people to travel far distances between their homes and the doctor to receive the care they need. For example, Nebraska’s scope-of-practice laws determine which tasks practitioners and medical professionals can perform. Repealing this will help expand access to health care for rural Nebraskans, many of whom have to drive far distances to see their doctor.
Americans for Prosperity continues to urge lawmakers to implement laws and regulations that help people who need medical care the most. States should resist ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion that prioritizes working-age, able-bodied adults over our most vulnerable in society and work on reforms that give all Americans the health care they deserve at a cost we can all afford.