Rejecting Medicaid Expansion the Right Call

I would like to commend the 38 state house members that presented a unified voice in opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision.

Even without this expansion, Medicaid costs are unsustainable. Over the last decade, program spending increased more than 80 percent, nearly twice as much as personal income. Medicaid now consumes 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s total state operating budget and is projected to grow for years to come. 

While federal dollars would cover the majority of the new spending, costs to Pennsylvania’s taxpayers are projected to range from $1.3 to $5.5 billion over the next eight years. In addition to increased taxes, state residents that self-pay, or have their own insurance, could expect higher insurance premiums and healthcare bills to compensate for Medicaid’s low reimbursement rates to healthcare providers.

Not only is the expansion unaffordable and costly to taxpayers, but also a bad deal for potential enrollees. Medicaid recipients experience long waits and difficulty accessing speciality care. Some studies have shown that Medicaid patients experience worse outcomes compared to the uninsured.

Expanding Medicaid will only exacerbate rising healthcare costs and impose an increasing financial burden on Pennsylvania taxpayers. Rather than growing government, it is essential to institute healthcare reforms that offer more choices and control for consumers while maximizing accountability of healthcare providers.

Update: Governor Corbett decided to reject both the state exchange and Medicaid expansion provisions under the Affordable Care Act.

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