Yet another newly revealed flaw of Obamacare promises to add billions to the cost of the new health law. Due to what was presumably an oversight in the drafting of the legislation, it could potentially unload 24.7 million additional Americans onto the Medicaid program.
That’s 50 percent higher than the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) original projection of 16 million. As Medicare Actuary Richard Foster explained in testimony before the House Budget Committee, the definition of income to determine eligibility excludes Social Security benefits, allowing couples in early retirement who make even $64,000 per year to qualify for benefits that should be reserved for those in genuine need. Like so many complexities within Obamacare’s unpopular stipulations, expensive and harmful mistakes lurking in the fine print are surfacing every day.
In an AP report yesterday, Foster said the broad conditions of the Medicaid expansion were similar to “allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.”
Medicaid was created to provide health benefits for the most vulnerable members of society, not one in four Americans, as it does today. Moreover, the program is deeply flawed and fails to provide quality care to those it already serves. Expanding it to include middle-class retirees who don’t need it will only further exacerbate the program’s several shortcomings—not to mention contribute further to the federal and state fiscal crises. Dumping more Americans into an already broken Medicaid program than previously estimated will also further add to the deficit spending caused by the new law.
The U.S. currently faces $61.9 trillion in unfunded mandates. That’s $528,000 per household. To put that number in perspective, 1 trillion seconds ago, it was 29,700 B.C. Now multiply that by 61.
If this new Medicaid provision goes into effect as is, America will face at least another $118 billion in unfunded mandates. The endless zeros are mind-boggling, and the Obama Administration doesn’t seem to keep track of them very well.
Last year’s rush to passage left many questions unanswered—and left many key implementation decisions in the hands of [the Administration]. These decisions—for example, the Administration’s use of waivers and exemptions from its own rules—deserve scrutiny. So does the impact of the law on state budgets, the workforce, and the overall economy.
America can’t afford Obamacare, period. But it definitely cannot afford to put millions of additional Americans in the Medicaid program at the very time that the country faces a fiscal crisis due to runaway entitlement spending. No amount of damage control can contain this monstrosity.