by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
JLF’s Joe Coletti recently commented on Medicaid Expansion for Governing magazine. Coletti comments that one reason many legislators hesitate to expand Medicaid in North Carolina is due to the upcoming shift from centralized Medicaid to a managed care system. Governing’s Mattie Quinn quotes Coletti as saying:
While managed-care programs save money in the long-run, the transition can be disruptive.
“It’s going to be a learning curve,” says Coletti.
This comes on the heels of JLF Health Care Analyst Jordan Roberts’ letter to the editor last week in the Wilmington Star News. In addition to the bad timing, Medicaid expansion would exacerbate an issue the state is already dealing with – wait times. Roberts writes:
Here’s the awful irony expansion supporters won’t acknowledge: adding roughly half a million new enrollees, many of whom are able-bodied adults with no kids, would make it tougher for current patients to receive care.
Roberts expands on this point in his most recent research update, “The Cost of Medicaid Expansion.” According to Roberts:
[Medicaid expansion supporters claim] that an increase in the number of insured individuals will decrease the utilization of emergency rooms… However, this claim does not stand up to the data. The WILL study finds that in states that expanded their Medicaid program, emergency room visits increased by about 9 per 1,000 residents. Other studies have replicated these findings and found that Medicaid expansion is associated with an increase in emergency department visits.