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If Medicaid Expansion Looks Like A Duck…

Idaho is contemplating an additional $100 million in state and federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

If Medicaid Expansion Looks Like A Duck...

If Medicaid Expansion Looks Like A Duck…

by Rep. Karey Hanks – District 35

If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck…well, you know the saying.

At a time when the Trump administration is working to shrink the size of government, we in Idaho are contemplating an additional $100 million in state and federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

However, according to those spearheading this increase, we are told we can not call it Medicaid expansion. Proponents of the Idaho Health Care Plan explain that adding thousands of adults to its rolls plus this additional funding is growth, not expansion. (Quack!)

The latest plan is to compel those with specific medically complex needs (the latest number of specific end-of-life/severe genetic disorders I have heard is 12) to enroll in Medicaid, thus relieving insurance companies of these expensive claims. In return, Idaho Insurance Department Director Dean Cameron “hopes” insurance premiums will drop by 20%. Details include tax credits and managed care. It sounds more like an insurance bailout to me. (Quack! Quack!)

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA.org) provides well-documented evidence that expanding Medicaid results in many more individuals joining the program than projected. As more people are accepted into these programs, it necessarily stretches available funding, and threatens adequate support for those who are truly needy.

Since the inception of ObamaCare, states with available data have enrolled more than twice as many able-bodied adults (ABA) than they thought they would ever enroll, by the end of 2016! According to their research, more than 12.7 million ABA are dependent on Medicaid because of the 31 states’ decisions to expand this program via ObamaCare.

Actual expansion enrollment has exceeded third-party projections by 55%. In addition, if non-expansion states choose to expand ObamaCare, approximately 11.4 million new ABA will be added to the welfare rolls, enabling an enrollment explosion in these remaining states.

As I contemplated the huge numbers of individuals receiving these benefits, I thought about past efforts to help those in need. In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson created The Great Society with the goal of eliminating poverty and racial injustice. It was supposed to lift people from poverty; however, as I review charts that show our increasing dependence on government intervention in our individual lives I ask: How has it worked for us to build up these welfare programs in the past 50+ years?

My bottom line question is, where does this fit with the proper role of government? With a $20 trillion debt, are we really going to put our hardworking taxpayers on a bigger hook for this staggering boondoggle?

How about the resources that are needed for law enforcement officers, teachers and infrastructure, for example, that will instead be used in an attempt to maintain this potentially growing population?

Are we expecting our bigger and unacknowledged “gap” of self-employed people, usually families, to continue funding more Medicaid recipients, even as they are under- or uninsured?

Ronald Reagan said, “Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” In which direction will promoting the addition of more individuals to this Medicaid program take us in achieving this goal?


FGA recommends states freeze enrollment and add work requirements to this failed expansion and prohibit additional ABA from signing up. At a time when numerous other states are endeavoring to undo these costly programs, Idaho definitely should not be embracing this growth, but instead remain opposed to expansion (quack) in the Medicaid program this year and moving forward.

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