When former President Barack Obama and Democrats got together to scheme ways to prevent the Affordable Care Act from being repealed at some point in the future – because they knew it was never meant to be sustainable – they wrote certain provisions into the law to make it nearly impossible, politically, to repeal.
And now, six years later, when Republicans finally have a shot at repealing and replacing Obamacare, those provisions are working exactly as planned.
The most formidable of those defenses was Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. Once envisioned as primarily a medical coverage plan for the poorest Americans, Obamacare dramatically expanded the program to cover far more Americans. As of today, 31 states and the District of Columbia voted to expand Medicaid to cover more of their citizens, and while Democrats and Obama claimed that was the “compassionate” thing to do, the expansion is costing hundreds of billions more dollars per year and, frankly, is unsustainable. (RELATED: Trump Said To Be Open To Negotiating “Obamacare 2.0” Bill Critics Say Will Ruin GOP If It Passes.)
That’s a big deal because now so many states have expanded the program it is making a number of Republicans queasy about repealing Obamacare – just like the expansion was supposed to do.
“We cannot turn our backs on the most vulnerable,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who expanded Medicaid, told CNN last month. “We can give them the coverage, reform the program, save some money, and make sure that we live in a country where people are going to say, ‘At least somebody’s looking out for me.’”
“It’s not a giveaway program,” Kasich said. “It’s one that addresses the basic needs of the people in our country.”
First of all, it is a “giveaway program,” and Kasich – a former member of Congress – knows it. It’s welfare, and by its very nature, it’s a benefit that the government gives to people, after it is paid forby other people. Secondly, John, who’s looking out for the taxpayers who are now on the hook for the billions more in costs each year thanks to the expansion?
And on that note, has the Medicaid expansion been such a rousing success that it’s now become a permanent entitlement, politically untouchable? Not according to an analysis from The Daily Signal, a news service published by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Experts who spoke to the news site said the expansion has played a heavy new financial burden on states (and federal taxpayers) that were lured into doing so by the promise of complete funding of any expansion for the first few years. But after those years passed, states that expanded Medicaid would have to begin kicking in more and more of the funding on their own, which is primarily why the 19 states that don’t have expansion decided against it.
“We see this as a moral issue, because what states have done is create this new category within the Medicaid program, which is a program that was originally intended to serve [the] aged, the blind, the disabled, low-income families, pregnant women — [those] we think about as the truly needy and truly vulnerable,” Nic Horton, a senior research fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, told The Daily Signal. “Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion changed that in states that accepted it.”
In a November report, Horton’s organization found that Medicaid expansion enrollment was blowing through projections, meaning more people than expected are signing up – and many of them are not healthy.
Horton said according to the report, about twice as many able-bodied adults have signed up than anticipated, doubling the cost of the expansion overall.
What’s worse, in many states funds and resources that were earmarked previously for the disabled and needy are now being diverted to pay for the Medicaid expansion…of largely able-bodied adults.
These costs are not going to go down, by the way; Kasich is dreaming when he says this program can be “reformed.” Also, the only way for costs to go down is to cut payments to hospitals and healthcare providers, which Medicaid already does, to the fiscal detriment of providers (many of whom are no longer accepting Medicaid patients because the payment schemes are so low).
No, the only true “reform” option here is to kill the Obamacare beast outright and return to the states the authority and flexibility to decide what kind of options they want to offer their own citizens. Obamacare proved once and for all that top-down mandated “care” and “coverage” from Washington, D.C., is an expensive disaster that has failed in every way to live up to its promises.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.