| August 1, 2013

Coburn and Jindal: Fix Medicaid, Don’t Expand It

OCPA has repeatedly made the case that Oklahoma should reform Medicaid, not expand it. And we’re not alone. Former OCPA trustee Tom Coburn is a U.S. Senator and a physician who has cared for thousands of Medicaid patients. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a former member of Congress, is the former secretary of Health and Hospitals for Louisiana. In a recent article titled “Fix Medicaid, Don’t Expand It,” Dr. Coburn and Gov. Jindal wrote:

Medicaid was designed to be a safety net for certain low-income Americans with special needs — mothers and children and the long-term aged, blind, and disabled — not an entitlement program for Americans with the means to make reasonable contributions to the cost of their coverage. …

President Obama is fond of invoking a call to fairness when advocating for his policies. We would challenge him to apply that same test to his Medicaid expansion and answer the following questions:

Is it fair that under an expanded Medicaid program, the federal government would pay a greater portion of the Medicaid dollar for an adult with no children above poverty, than for a single mother with children who live in poverty?

Is it fair to expand a program that allows an individual to own a Lexus and qualify for a long-term-care benefit because Medicaid allows the exclusion of one vehicle regardless of value?

Is it fair for this Congress and Administration to promise benefits from an expanded Medicaid program that soon will demand either dramatically higher taxes, significant benefit cuts, or both?

Is it fair to claim short-term political and financial gains from expanding Medicaid, while socializing the negative impacts of crowding out private coverage and delaying or denying care to the neediest citizens?...

Even if the federal government has good intentions, the money just isn’t there. And make no mistake; states already face substantial budgetary pressures from Medicaid. Under the status quo, Medicaid spending will continue to consume nearly a quarter of every state dollar, passing education as the largest state budgetary commitment. Increased Medicaid spending will further crowd out other state spending and make the fiscal outlook for states even worse.

I encourage you to read the entire article here.

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