| November 14, 2013

Steering clear of the train wreck

Despite great pressure from Oklahoma’s organized left and from the hospital-industrial complex (which Avik Roy calls “the most heavily government-subsidized industry in the history of the world”), Gov. Mary Fallin has refused to go along with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. As she said a year ago,

I have also decided that Oklahoma will not be participating in the Obama Administration’s proposed expansion of Medicaid. Such an expansion would be unaffordable, costing the state of Oklahoma up to $475 million between now and 2020, with escalating annual expenses in subsequent years. It would also further Oklahoma’s reliance on federal money that may or may not be available in the future given the dire fiscal problems facing the federal government. On a state level, massive new costs associated with Medicaid expansion would require cuts to important government priorities such as education and public safety. Furthermore, the proposed Medicaid expansion offers no meaningful reform to a massive entitlement program already contributing to the out-of-control spending of the federal government.

Her decision is looking better all the time. Here we are a year later, and Gov. Fallin can correctly say of Obamacare that “the whole plan’s been a debacle.” And it’s not just the website. “The website is a sideshow,” says past OCPA speaker Steven Hayward. “The real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more” (despite President Obama’s promises to the contrary; see below).

Given Medicaid’s awful health outcomes — “It’s as if the government ‘health care’ boosters don't really care about the well being of the poor,” says law professor Glenn Reynolds — and given that analysts like Hayward are predicting that Obamacare will be repealed well in advance of the 2014 elections, now is no time to jump aboard this train wreck. Gov. Fallin says she’s thankful Oklahoma hasn’t expanded Medicaid. So are we.

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