| January 17, 2013

OCPA in the Journal Record: No compromise on Medicaid

Writing in The Journal Record, OCPA Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow Andy Spiropoulos contends that Medicaid is too flawed a program to expand -- and urges conservatives to keep the argument about how best to structure our health care system alive.

So what about Medicaid? The problem with the standard-issue Medicaid program is that it is a Potemkin program. Those who are eligible for Medicaid are entitled, it appears, to a wide array of health benefits. But neither the state nor the federal government can afford to keep the promises Medicaid makes. The government is forced to squeeze what it pays providers, leading many of the best professionals to refuse to treat Medicaid patients. It’s pretty obvious what effect this exit has on access to quality care.

Here’s the problem. Instead of letting us experiment with different ways of helping our poorest citizens purchase health care, President Obama wants to permanently impose this flawed Medicaid structure on us. He will help pay the bill to add thousands of Oklahomans to the Medicaid rolls, but only if we run our program his way. The president loves the bells and whistles of the Potemkin program; he’ll figure out how to fix and pay for it later. Want a waiver to try a new approach? Forget about it.

If we take the money for the federal expansion, we will be permanently stuck with the failed Medicaid model – once you give people the Potemkin insurance, no matter how poorly it works, it will be politically and practically impossible to reform it. The argument over how to structure our health care system will, in any way that matters, come to an end.

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

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