JLF’s Health and Human Services Policy Analyst Katherine Restrepo takes on the Left’s talking point that North Carolina should have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare. In her weekly newsletter, Restrepo writes:
This month, the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report assessing the financial impacts of North Carolina’s decision to forgo the Affordable Care Act’s optional Medicaid expansion.
Extending eligibility rolls of our broken — yes, broken — medical assistance safety net would cost state taxpayers an additional $300 million per year, amounting to $3 billion to the General Fund books over the course of a decade. But because Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, advocates brush that aside and are instead fixated on North Carolina losing out on $40 billion of federal funds over the next ten years.
The argument goes that our citizens’ federal taxes are now paying for other states’ Medicaid expansions, without any benefit coming to those citizens themselves. Is North Carolina really “losing out”? The influx of federal funds is borrowed money. What’s really happening here is that future generations are being taxed to broaden the safety net of our current generation, all the while adding to our national deficit.
Furthermore, the study projects an expansion would insure over 400,000 North Carolinians in 2016. However, a portion of this population would no longer qualify for subsidized private coverage under the federal health law. Essentially, these individuals would be pulled away from private coverage to a public assistance program where accessing care proves to be more difficult. In North Carolina, approximately one in every four physicians does not accept new Medicaid patients.
A central question to consider is this: Will consuming more money generate better patient health outcomes?
Read Restrepo’s entire analysis here.