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Increasing Medicaid Enrollment Threatens State Budgets

Increasing Medicaid Enrollment Threatens State Budgets

Our worries about health insurance were confirmed last month when the White House told us to expect serious premium hikes for 2017. Now, The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) reports that enrollment in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion has exceeded projections by an average of 110%. 

To put this into perspective, at least 11.5 million able-bodied adults have signed up for Medicaid in the 29 states with expansions.

The increased costs associated with high enrollment threaten state budget dollars for priorities like infrastructure and education, reports the FGA. 

“A lot of folks on the left will say that this is a huge sign of success – look at all of these people who need coverage and help,” says FGA study author Nicholas Horton. “My response is that it is not success when you have able-bodied adults who are being trapped in welfare and reducing their incentive to work.”

As noted in Horton’s report, states’ share of Medicaid expansion costs will rise to 5% starting January 2017. By 2020, those costs will reach 10%. “Every state dollar spent on able-bodied adults in a Medicaid program is one less dollar that can be spent on other programs,” argues FGA senior fellow Josh Archambault. “This is essentially eating up tons of funds at the state level.” 

Before the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was offered primarily to low-income disabled adults and some pregnant women. With Obamacare, Medicaid eligibility extends to most low-income Americans under age 65 in states that have approved the expansion. 

The Affordable Care Act is “a welfare program masquerading as healthcare reform,” says Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX). “Enrollment projections were nothing but fantasy, cost estimates little more than wishful thinking, and positive health outcomes were grossly overstated.” 

The future of Obamacare is uncertain now that Donald Trump has been elected president. The billionaire has promised to “repeal and replace” Obama’s disastrous healthcare law, but has provided few details on the process.

“Our path forward is clear,” insists Flores. “We must repeal this unsustainable burden and replace it with real reforms that improve access to quality healthcare at lower prices.”


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