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Blog: Rokita Readings: Medicaid-Expanding GOP Governors have Egg on their Faces


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Philip Klein's recent column about Medicaid expansion highlights some of the major problems with the Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare, which would cost taxpayers around $1 trillion over ten years if all states were to participate.

In its ruling last year upholding ObamaCare, the Supreme Court gave states the option of not participating in the expansion of Medicaid. Yet many states, including states with Republican governors, have chosen to move forward with the expansion.

Klein points out that many of the normally fiscally-responsible governors who made the decision to participate in the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion have framed their decision as "doing the right thing for those in need."

But a recent study in Oregon found that there were no demonstrable improvements to the health outcomes of low-income patients randomly selected for Oregon's Medicaid expansion, as compared to similar patients who were not enrolled in Medicaid. This study offered a real-world preview of what is likely to happen with a broader expansion of Medicaid, which is that trillions of dollars will be spent for few, if any, measurable results.

Klein notes that governments at all levels will spend an estimated $7.4 trillion on Medicaid, which one-fourth of state budgets, more than any other single program. This, of course, means that states do not have as much money to spend on other priorities like education and transportation because of the escalating costs of Medicaid.

As Klein rightly points out, "there is nothing humane about taking money from middle class taxpayers to finance a health-care entitlement for the poor that, according to the best available research, does not improve their health."

Instead, the right solution is to give states the flexibility to administer their programs to best serve their unique populations, as Indiana has done with the Healthy Indiana Plan. The reforms I authored in the State Health Flexibility Act and the FY2014 House Budget would accomplish this.

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