Medicaid Expansion is not the Answer

Medicaid Expansion is not the Answer


Once again our favorite “Liberal Media Muppet” Betsy Russell who tries to write stories for the Spokane Review is trying to trash Labrador for the sake of expanding a system in Idaho that has failed in just about every other state it has been tried in.

Why has Medicaid expansion failed? Because there are no rules for physicians to have proven results and there is no incentive for patients to make the lifestyle changes necessary to get their health back. The patients have absolutely no skin in the game and therefore many don’t even make it to their appointments and when they do, they are given a bottle of pills and told to go home. Now there is a medical system that is doomed to fail. Ms. Russell tries halfheartedly to defend Medicaid expansion with the fact that the people of Idaho want Medicaid, however; she never tells us the truth about how much it will cost and who will be paying for it.

Truth be known: Medicaid expansion thus far, 32 states have taken the bait, including Arizona. And as many of the critics predicted, expansion has failed to deliver on any of its promises and has now trapped states into a fiscally unsustainable program. Ms. Russell cites Brad Little as saying that the cost would be $39 million, however, we believe that number is a fairytale.

According to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services, new ACA enrollees cost an average of $6,366 annually, 49 percent higher than their initial predictions. You ask why is that happening. The answer is simple: when people are not responsible to pay for a service like Medicaid they will inherently spend more and that applies to the state governments as well. A study conducted by economists at MIT found that every one dollar of government spending on Medicaid resulted in $0.20 – 0.40 of benefit to Medicaid recipients. Not only are the costs ($425 billion in 2011 alone) to fund Medicaid extraordinary, but the efficiency of those dollars are so low, one must ask the question, what are we even paying for?

It’s time to look at Medicaid Expansion Logically not passionately: Until we get a handle on medical cost and transparency for procedures, we are never going to be able to have a knowledgeable way of assessing the true cost of a system like Medicaid. Even then, we need to implement a system of responsibility for the efficacy of treatments by the physicians along with participants who have some skin in the game when it comes paying part of the costs and taking responsibility for improving their health overall.

We currently have over 400 physicians who have retired in Idaho because they could not afford the malpractice insurance and were getting paid less every year for Medicaid patient’s reimbursements and digging themselves a financial hole that they would never be able to dig themselves out of.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating: Back in 2008, Oregon conducted an experiment in Medicaid Expansion called “The Oregon Experiment” which showed simply insuring more individuals did not correspond to improved health outcomes for those individuals. We keep dumping money into an inefficient system that continually shows bad results because it does not work. Why do you think so many insurance companies have been dropping out of the markets? Private insurance companies have been losing money since the advent of Obamacare to the point that no one wants to service the markets because there is no subsidy for their losses.

What will happen to our state if we implement Medicaid Expansion: First of all, the money we receive from the federal government is not free—it is borrowed money, and at some point, we won’t be able to afford to pay at the 90% level mentioned in Betsy’s article.

Who do you think is going to make up the difference when the federal government changes the reimbursement from 90% to 70 or 50%, which could easily happen? The state is going to have to make up the difference and I assure you that when you see your taxes go through the roof to pay for a broken system, you will finally say enough is enough. We currently spend over $2 billion from the federal government on Medicaid and $500 million of state funds. The question is how much more do you want to pay for an inefficient system that has proven time and again it doesn’t work?

Once you open Pandora’s Box, you will not be able to close it. You can’t give people something for free and then a year or two years later just take it away from them. It’s like inviting someone for a steak dinner and telling them they need to bring their own steak. The solution is not to hand out free medical care but to teach people how to eat healthfully and exercise on a regular basis. It would be better if we changed the SNAP program allowing only certain healthy foods to be purchased with the program instead of allowing recipients to purchase groceries that are going to eventually cause them health problems.

It all comes back to an educational process and it doesn’t seem like anyone in the insurance, medical, or political realm wants to take the bull by the horns and tell the truth about how to get healthy and stay that way. I speak from experience as for the past two and a half years I have made the transition and have lost 65 pounds, lowered my blood pressure, and become physically fit. Instead of helping people get on the right track, they just raise premiums and deductibles, charge more for services and prescriptions, and shout from the rooftops, “Come and get your free Medicaid.”

Let’s not turn a problem into a catastrophe by doing something stupid. We don’t have what you would call health freedom in the United States. We don’t have a freedom of choice because the insurance companies dictate who they will pay for what services. They make the rules and regulations and until we get away from the third party payer system and start the education process of the populace, this problem will not go away.

I had the distinct pleasure of spending some time at the annual Chiropractors Conference in Boise, and it was such a pleasure to visit with physicians who actually care about getting people well and not about how much money they were going to be able to bill their patients. Chiropractic has been used for one hundred and twenty-three years and is currently used to relieve chronic pain. It is also being used in helping people who are on opioids to deal with their pain and get them off this debilitating medication that killed 60,000 Americans last year alone.

We need to change the way we look at medicine which currently is sick care and go to a system where we have health and wellness programs that help us avoid the diseases that are plaguing so many Americans. We need to look at Alternatives like Chiropractic and Naturopathic medicine which are less invasive but highly effective treatments that have been kept out of mainstream medicine by the allopathic physicians and drug companies for the last 70 years.

We don’t need Medicaid Expansion; what we need is for the Medical Industrial Establishment and Big Pharma to stop lying to us and ripping us off.