Medicaid expansion is a bad idea, and a new poll by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) shows that most Americans know it.
Every ObamaCare expansion state has enrolled far more people than they ever expected to enroll, and these are able-bodied adults who are perfectly capable of working. Of the states that have reported data, the average has enrolled 110 percent more able-bodied adults than they expected. Meanwhile, nearly 650,000 people with disabilities are on Medicaid waiting lists, struggling to obtain care as limited tax dollars go towards working-age, able-bodied adults. The truly needy wait while those who are able to work receive care.
It's hardly surprising that these astronomical rises in enrollment have led to correlating cost overruns. California was 222 percent over budget in it's first year and a half, Oregon was 128 percent over budget in the same amount of time, and North Dakota was 114 percent over budget in its first year. Of course, when money is being spent on Medicaid for able-bodied adults, that doesn't just mean that a person who truly needs medical assistance doesn't get those dollars, but those are dollars that can't be spent on education, public safety, or other concerns as well.
As Vice President Mike Pence told the Republican Governors Association (RGA), "Under Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion costs 50 percent more per enrollee than what we were told. At this very moment, Medicaid is one of the largest and fastest growing budget items in nearly every state budget. But you already know that. And as Medicaid grows, there’s less and less money for schools, for roads, and for public safety."
The FGA has a solution: freeze expansion. If ObamaCare enrollment is stopped, those already enrolled are only allowed to stay on Medicaid until their incomes rise or their transition periods end, and resources are freed up for the truly needy, real change can be effected. When Arizona implemented this, their enrollment went down 70 percent in 30 months. In Maine, it went down 57 percent in just 16 months. In June, Governor Kasich of Ohio did just that, and it will take effect in 2018.
"Obamacare has put far too many able-bodied adults on the Medicaid rolls, leaving many disabled and vulnerable Americans at the back of the line. It’s true, and it’s heartbreaking," Pence told the RGA, " I know Governor Kasich isn’t with us, but I suspect that he’s very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years." It's little wonder the truly needy can't get the care they need. The Kasich administration had believed that enrollment would never exceed 447,000 non-disabled, working-age adults but, as of May of this year, enrollment had exceeded 725,000 and is projected to be more than $8 billion over budget by the end of 2017.
It is little wonder that the majority of Americans support freezing and unwinding this mess to make sure the people who need it the most have care? Tarren Bragdon, President and CEO of The FGA said in a statement:
The expansion of ObamaCare to able-bodied adults has put the truly needy at risk and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The results of this poll reinforce the harm that Medicaid expansion has had—and that voters want change. An enrollment freeze has the potential to save taxpayers at least $500 billion within ten years, preserving funds for education, public safety, infrastructure, and the most vulnerable. Commonsense solutions to roll back the harmful effects of ObamaCare are supported by voters, and policymakers would be wise to heed their constituents.
The poll found that 51 percent of voters oppose ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied adults (41 percent support), 52 percent support unwinding this expansion by freezing enrollment (36 percent oppose), and 55 percent agreed that an enrollment freeze would help the truly needy in our communities (26 percent disagreed).
It’s not often that something can serve both the needy and the bottom line. This is one of those opportunities. Considering its supported by voters, what are governors waiting for?