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Morning Bell: Obamacare's Medicaid Trap

Posted By Amy Payne On March 13, 2013 @ 7:07 am In Obamacare | Comments Disabled

While Members of Congress are arguing about defunding parts of Obamacare [1], the rubber is meeting the road in the states. Governors and state legislatures are sweating decisions about setting up government health care exchanges and expanding the Medicaid program.

While the offer of additional federal money for Medicaid is tempting for many governors and legislatures, it is a trap. And it is just one of the reasons Obamacare doesn’t work.

>>> STATE OF CONFUSION: Maps of State Positions on Obamacare Lawsuits, Exchanges, and Medicaid Expansion [2]

The Medicaid expansion is a crucial part of Obamacare that is supposed reduce the number of uninsured. But adding millions of people onto an already strained program doesn’t help anyone. The Medicaid program is already struggling to provide care to its core obligations—a diverse group of low-income children, disabled people, pregnant women, and seniors. So dumping more people into the program will make matters worse. Research shows that Medicaid enrollees already [3]have worse access and outcomes [3] than privately insured individuals.

This will have real effects on America’s needy, including children. Dr. Hal Scherz has seen the problems Medicaid creates firsthand. He practices in the only pediatric urology group in the state of Georgia, and more than half of his practice is made up of Medicaid patients.

But Medicaid already doesn’t cover the costs of many procedures, and expanding the program is only going to stretch the doctors’ even further—while they get paid less. It is unlikely that care providers like Dr. Scherz will be able to keep treating such high numbers of Medicaid patients under this scenario—which means less access to care for children who need it.

>>> STATE BY STATE: See How Your State Fares in the Medicaid Expansion [4]

Thankfully, Georgia is not expanding Medicaid right now. But that doesn’t mean Medicaid is doing well, even in states that aren’t expanding. Due in part to low reimbursement, one in three doctors already refuses to accept new Medicaid patients.

Medicaid is a problem for patients—and it’s also a major problem for states that are struggling financially. As Heritage’s Nina Owcharenko explains [3]:

Today, Medicaid consumes over 23 percent of state budgets, surpassing education as the largest state budget item. As Medicaid spending continues to rise, other important state priorities such as education, emergency services, transportation, and criminal justice are squeezed.

In fact, 40 out of the 50 states are projected to see higher costs—not savings [4]—from expanding Medicaid.

Medicaid needs serious reforms [5] to serve the people it was intended to serve. Expanding it under Obamacare is not the answer.

LEARN MORE:

Why the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion Is Bad for Taxpayers and Patients [3]

MAPS: State Responses to Obamacare—Lawsuits, Medicaid Expansion, and Exchanges [2]

STATE BY STATE: How Does Your State Fare in the Medicaid Expansion? [4]

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad [6].

Quick Hits:

  • The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would restore the work requirements to welfare [7].
  • “A filing error by H&R Block has resulted in the delay of about 600,000 tax refunds [8],” reports NBC News.
  • Will the next pope be American [9]? The odds are against it, says reporter and author Peter Eisner.
  • New budget proposals seem to be coming out of the woodwork. CBS News breaks down the budget process [10] and explains what’s happening.
  • How does the modern liberal think? Humorist Evan Sayet will give his answers to that question today at Heritage. Watch online [11] at noon ET.

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/13/obamacare-medicaid-trap/

URLs in this post:

[1] defunding parts of Obamacare: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/12/mcconnell-intends-to-force-vote-on-defunding-obamacare/

[2] >>> STATE OF CONFUSION: Maps of State Positions on Obamacare Lawsuits, Exchanges, and Medicaid Expansion: http://www.heritage.org/multimedia/presentation/2013/state-responses-to-obamacare

[3] already : http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/why-the-obamacare-medicaid-expansion-is-bad-for-taxpayers-and-patients

[4] >>> STATE BY STATE: See How Your State Fares in the Medicaid Expansion: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/05/obamacare-medicaid-expansion-state-by-state-charts/

[5] serious reforms: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/05/three-steps-to-medicaid-reform

[6] Heritage Libertad: http://www.libertad.org/

[7] work requirements to welfare: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/13/3283000/house-to-vote-on-bill-preventing.html

[8] delay of about 600,000 tax refunds: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100547218

[9] Will the next pope be American: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/03/12/why-odds-are-against-american-pope/

[10] budget process: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57573941/the-budget-battle-what-the-heck-is-going-on-in-d.c./

[11] Watch online: http://www.heritage.org/events/2013/03/kindergarden-of-eden

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