Medicaid Expansion = “Medicare for All Lite”
By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
A new report by the nonpartisan think tank The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) says that Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act is like “Medicare for All Lite,” which has created nothing but “disastrous results.”
If the remaining non-expansion states were to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, FGA argues, about 2 million able-bodied adults risk losing their private insurance. They would then be shifted onto Medicaid and receive less quality care, placing a larger financial burden onto taxpayers.
In “Forced Into Welfare: How Medicaid Expansion Will Kick Millions Of Americans Off Of Private Insurance,” the authors note that the majority of able-bodied adults targeted to enroll in Medicaid already have affordable private insurance through an exchange program.
According to an earlier FGA analysis, nearly 54 percent of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees were already insured, and in some states like Wisconsin, the number was as high as 71 percent.
Chris Jacobs, senior fellow at the New Orleans-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy, reported on the crisis of Louisiana residents being forced to drop their private insurance to enroll in Medicaid, creating a phenomenon known as “crowd out.” After reviewing public records from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Jacobs found that 15,000 people dropped their private insurance to enroll in Medicaid every month throughout 2017.
“Crowd out populations pose big potential costs for Louisiana taxpayers,” Jacobs said. “In 2015, the Legislative Fiscal Office assumed that if Louisiana expanded Medicaid, the state would spend between $900 million and $1.3 billion over five years providing Medicaid coverage to individuals with prior health coverage.”
The average expansion enrollee cost per person is $6,286.20 per year in Louisiana, Jacobs calculates based on LDH testimony given to the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year.
Multiplying this average cost-per-enrollee by the number of individuals who dropped private coverage, according to last year’s LSU Health Insurance Survey, the Pelican Institute estimates the potential cost to state and federal taxpayers is $461.6 million per year.
Similar patterns are occurring nationwide, the FGA report notes. Economists, including Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, have concluded that Medicaid expansions in the late 1990s and early 2000s created a crowd-out effect of roughly 60 percent. In other words, for every 10 new Medicaid enrollees, six left private insurance plans, FGA said.