Trent England | May 11, 2016
Years of Warnings Unheeded on Medicaid
The entire state budget is under pressure, including Medicaid and other medical welfare programs. Unlike many other programs, however, the unsustainable path of Medicaid is no surprise. In fact, OCPA has warned about the costs and called for reforms for years.
In 2012, we parsed the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Oklahoma Health Care Authority enrollment data to help lawmakers understand the financial and human costs of growing dependence on Medicaid. We called attention to a report by the State Budget Crisis Task Force warning of unsustainable growth of Medicaid costs crowding out priorities like education.
The following year, two OCPA research fellows provided a county-level look at Medicaid growth in Oklahoma. We also pointed out that not all Medicaid recipients are poor and called on OHCA to focus resources on those with the greatest need.
In 2014, we praised Gov. Fallin for her strong stand against Medicaid expansion and explained how special interests blocked Medicaid improvements. Just last year, OCPA reminded lawmakers of the rising costs and again called for Medicaid reform. We also showed that while many health care costs keep going up, some have gone down, suggesting that there really is a better way forward on health policy.
The unsustainable path of Medicaid is no surprise. Whatever policymakers do, they should not adopt a plan like the “Rebalancing Act” that is simply more of the same, with higher costs and greater reliance on promises of federal funds.
David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow
Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.