Expanding a Broken System is No Solution for Health Care
As a general rule, the more a salesman offers you to sign a long-term contract, the closer you should scrutinize the deal. That's the situation we're facing in Texas, as the Obama Administration extends a handful of cash with one hand while keeping a sledgehammer behind its back.
Setting aside the brazen intrusion into state sovereignty and the gross federal overreach, the practical problem with Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is that the product the administration's selling is broken. State and federal budgets are simply unable to handle an expansion of this magnitude.
While the media fixates on the substantial amount of debt-financed money Washington is offering states to close the deal, they're ignoring the massive, long-term costs such an expansion would bring.
In Texas, Medicaid already accounts for more than 20 percent of our general revenue spending, with that number threatening to skyrocket further in the next budgetary cycle. Many states must cut services in essential areas like education and public safety just to keep Medicaid solvent, and that's even before any expansion.
The president's plan promises to pay the state share of expansion for a few years. However, that "federal" money is still taxpayer financed, whether it's collected or borrowed. That flow of money will, necessarily, come to an end, and states will be left with a massive bill that can't even be estimated yet.
When it comes to Obamacare's insurance exchanges, they aren't the free-market solution they're advertised to be. Texas was given an option of setting up a state exchange, but we'd be required to set up a system using federal rules and federal guidelines, with little to no state flexibility in its execution. There's no advantage for our state to go to the trouble and expense of setting up a state system that's essentially a federally-controlled operation. To add to the difficulty, many of the federal rules have yet to be written.
Obamacare is one long-term contract nobody should sign, and I'm proud to stand with other governors in opposition to these costly and misguided programs.
This editorial orginially ran in 'USA Today'.
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