OCPA in the Journal-Record: Defending Fallin's rejection of dollars

December 13, 2012

Writing in The Journal Record, OCPA Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow Andy Spiropoulos defends Gov. Fallin's rejection of federal dollars to expand Medicaid with oft-forgotten facts. Medicaid isn't just expensive, he writes; it also delivers substandard health outcomes.

The left argues that, while they care only about the welfare of Oklahomans, the heartless governor is only interested in catering to public opinion and winning the next election. It never occurs to them that what is most important to opponents of Medicaid expansion isn’t electoral politics. We think it’s foolish and harmful to expand a badly designed and administered program that provides substandard medical care to our most vulnerable citizens. It’s especially important to resist the expansion because it is a core component of the pernicious scheme that, if implemented, will make it impossible for us to enact affordable and effective reforms that will help all our citizens obtain quality health care, regardless of income.

The next time you read a screed demanding that we expand Medicaid, notice that these friends of the poor never mention that a plethora of studies have found that the health outcomes for patients covered by Medicaid are far worse than those covered by private insurance and inferior to those for the uninsured. One study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia examined outcomes for nearly a million surgical patients. It found that Medicaid patients were twice as likely to die as those with private insurance. Compared to the uninsured, Medicaid patients were 13 percent more likely to die and stayed in the hospital 50 percent longer, even though their treatment cost 20 percent more. For colon cancer, another study found, the mortality rate for Medicaid patients was three times higher for those covered by private insurance and 25 percent higher than the uninsured.

To read the full op-ed, please click here.