Medicaid Expansion Is the Wrong Move
from NCPA,

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The Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) encourages states to expand Medicaid to all individuals earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Medicaid, which is already struggling to provide care to its current beneficiaries, needs reform, not expansion, says Nina Owcharenko, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

• By 2021, 46 percent of all Americans will be dependent on the government for their health care.

• In 2010, state and federal spending on Medicaid exceeded $400 billion for over 60 million Americans.

• Under ObamaCare, the federal government would cover 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid; this enhanced federal funding would gradually decline to 90 percent in 2020.

When the Supreme Court struck down the Medicaid mandate of ObamaCare, it made the expansion of Medicaid optional for states. Since then, governors and state legislators have been debating whether their state should expand coverage.

Medicaid expansion will result in states spending money they would not have previously spent as eligibility expands and reimbursement decreases. With Medicaid already consuming 23 percent of state budgets, expanding coverage could mean a decrease in other important state priorities like education, emergency services, transportation and criminal justice.

While even the Obama administration admits that entitlement spending is unsustainable, Medicaid expansion will exacerbate the country’s deficit imbalance.

• Rejecting Medicaid expansion would reduce state reliance on federal funds.

• Scaling back existing eligibility would restore Medicaid as a safety net program.

• Allowing each state to create its own non-Medicaid state-based approach would give states the control they need to address the needs of their citizens.

Additionally, Congress could level the playing field by eliminating the federal matching funds under ObamaCare and instead offer block grants to each state to develop state-specific approaches.