by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
Today’s Real Clear Policy included an article warning North Carolina against being seduced by the siren song of empty promises sung by Medicaid expansion supporters:
As far back as 2014, Arkansas Senator Bryan King (R) warned other states not to expand after watching his state’s “unmitigated disaster.”
That’s what North Carolina will find when it looks at the track record of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion in other states. Its history is one of big but empty promises.
Politicians promise a manageable increase in enrollment, but expansion states enroll more than twice as many individuals as projected and costs blow through projections as a result.
Politicians promise help for the truly needy. But expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults hurts those in need. State budgets enter death spirals as funds for education and public safety dry up. Meanwhile, individuals with disabilities — folks who have long relied on Medicaid — pay the price as the program becomes insolvent and waiting lists for benefits grow.
Politicians promise coverage for the uninsured. But a majority of the able-bodied adults made eligible by Medicaid expansion already have private healthcare coverage. Expansion just forces these individuals off better plans and into government dependency, all while raising premiums for those who remain in the private market.
Moreover, the article notes, Medicaid is a program filled with fraud. Nationally, there was more than $86 billion in improper Medicaid payments made last year. That’s well over three times the entire North Carolina state budget.
Medicaid expansion is a recipe to further crowd an already overcrowded Medicaid program, exacerbating an already problematic lack of access to care for the truly needy. It would also crowd out other budget priorities, while shifting able-bodied, mostly childless adults from private insurance onto the government program – further driving up premiums on insurance plans. North Carolina legislators should remain steadfast in their resistance to being conned by the false promises of Medicaid expansion.