Health Reform: One of the more depressing aspects of the failed ObamaCare replacement bill was that it exposed how many Republicans have become ardent defenders of Medicaid — a "poverty" program that is slowly taking over health care.
There are few federal programs as poorly designed as Medicaid. Its open-ended funding mechanism — where the federal government matches spending by the states — encourages waste. Since 2000, Medicaid spending climbed 172%, and the Government Accountability Office has listed Medicaid as a "high risk" for fraud and abuse.
At the same time, Medicaid's low reimbursement rates — it pays doctors about half what private insurance pays — and heavy paperwork burdens have created shortages of doctors willing to see Medicaid patients.
Instead of reforming Medicaid, ObamaCare simply added millions to its rolls, aggravating its inherent flaws. ObamaCare promised states that it would cover almost all the costs of newly eligible enrollees, if they agreed to expand eligibility to 138% of the poverty line. So far, 31 states have taken the bait. Medicaid spending, as a result, spiked in 2014 and is on track to climb more than 67% over the next decade.
But giving someone a Medicaid card isn't the same as giving them access to health care. Doctor shortages, for example, caused a surge in ER visits after the Medicaid expansion took place, driving per enrollee costs 49% higher than expected.
You'd think, then, that Republicans would have been eager to hit the brakes on this runaway Medicaid train.
Instead, the proposed cuts in the American Health Care Act prompted a chorus of complaints from Republican governors and lawmakers.
Even before the House had released its bill, four GOP senators announced that they wouldn't back any plan that cut Medicaid. Several House members refused to support the bill because of its Medicaid cuts.Read the rest of this IBD editorial HERE.
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