Oklahoma’s political leaders in 2019 will again be pressured to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. They should reject this terrible idea.
While Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt campaigned as a strong opponent of Medicaid expansion, other newly elected officials indicated they are receptive to it and some are planning to push for it aggressively. These officials might want to take a look at the states that have adopted the scheme. They’ll find only broken promises and busted budgets.
In Colorado and Kentucky, expansion supporters claimed that fewer than 200,000 would sign up. Instead, both states had more than 400,000 enrollees.
In Nevada, which enacted its Medicaid expansion in 2014, the state government is reporting a Medicaid deficit of $56 million for fiscal 2019. In New Mexico, enrollment was projected at 149,000 — instead, more than 250,000 signed up.
What makes anyone believe Oklahoma will be the one state to guess right?
How are these states managing to pay for Medicaid expansion? They are cutting other vital programs and raising taxes. Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Ohio all reported raising taxes to fund Medicaid expansion.
If you think all that taxing and spending will help those who need it most, think again. Medicaid expansion is primarily for adult men above the poverty line, and they are crowding out care for those who need it most — the elderly, the poor and special-needs children.
Across the country, Medicaid expansion has thrown almost 600,000 of the most vulnerable onto Medicaid waiting lists. Some have died waiting for care.