I would like to personally admonish all of those supposedly conservative Idahoans who voted to bring more government intrusion into our state through Medicaid Expansion. I guess you haven’t learned anything from my quotes like the one from Alexis de Tocqueville, “We get the Government We Deserve”. So let’s try one from Thomas Sowell on for size. “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”
Millions of dollars were spent in the pre-election campaign to tell the people of Idaho just how great Medicaid Expansion would be for its citizens. We would receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the government that we would never see if not for the expansion. Thousands of Idahoans would be helped who fell into the gap who had no way of obtaining insurance. The money for this insidious campaign came from the lobbyist groups representing the medical and drug entities who will benefit greatly at the expense of the taxpaying public from this expansion.
Let me tell you something, dear readers. Sixty-Nine percent of those that will qualify for Medicaid Expansion are single adults with no children who are perfectly capable of working and obtaining their own insurance from private sources. Those hundreds of millions of dollars that we will get are only guaranteed until 2020 and are borrowed by the government putting our country further into debt. Do you really think that pouring more money into this huge abyss called Medicaid will solve the medical problems of those who will now be covered? Do you really think that we will just be covering 60 or 70 thousand Idahoan’s? Do you really believe that the government will not cut their portion of payments to the state? If you believe these things you are either ignorant or the victims of a horrible misinformation campaign.
Wake up Idaho, in 2018 it will cost the state $706 million for Health and Welfare from the State General Fund and $2,285,000,000 will come from the Federal Government for Medicaid. It is estimated that the additional funds that will be brought into the state from Medicaid expansion will be $460 million which will pay for 90% of the bill which means the state will have to come up with another 40 to 50 million from the general fund. If indeed we are right and the Federal Government cuts the current 90% payout to let’s say 70% that will mean that the state will have to come up with at least another $100 million in 2020. Where do you think that money will come from? I will tell you it will come from our education budget which currently is 48.8% of total expenditures. Idahoan’s took the bait and are now going to be on the hook for up to $150 million in additional costs which will have to be paid for by either cutting back other services or from higher taxes.
The 65% of you who voted for this onerous government goody will soon find out that nothing is for free and when it hits your wallets don’t blame us. We have been vehemently against this Medicaid expansion for years but it seems that the lobbyists finally got the best of you along with our all too liberal Governor Otter who came at as the surprise supporter for this expansion. What most of the voters who said yes to the expansion don’t realize it that once you give something like Medicaid to a group as large as this you can’t take it back and the costs are going to grow in the years to come?
Where do you think they will get the 40 to 50 million needed to start this expansion? I will tell you it will come at the expense of the repeal of the Grocery Tax which our liberal Governor Otter vetoed in the last session. The Grocery tax is the most regressive tax you can place on low-income consumers including those who are on Medicaid or soon will be. This will hurt the most venerable among Idahoan’s who will not only be on Medicaid but be forced to cut their purchases of higher quality food to feed their families that keep them healthy.
We currently have 273,000 Idahoan’s on Medicaid and with the expansion, it will be available to 119,000 more not the 60 or 70 thousand they said would be eligible. We will bet that the number will expand even further to the 120 to 150,000 level. According to a July 2014 report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, in 2010 there were 227,849 Idaho residents enrolled in Medicaid. Between 2000 and 2012, this figure had increased by 2.9 percentage points and has not gone down in any year since. By 2013, Medicaid covered 12 percent of Idaho residents and in 2017, we had 294,000 Medicaid recipients. With the expansion, we will now have over 400,000 Idahoan’s on Medicaid or about 23% of the population. The cost of this program is unstainable in future years if federal government funding is cut. The burden will eventually shift to the taxpayers of our state in one form or another.
Medicaid Expansion has the potential to put our state into a financial crisis not if but when government funding is cut and mark my words it will be cut as we cannot sustain the continued rising costs of medical care in our country that help create our huge budget deficits. This vote is either a major shift in the way Idahoans feel about government subsidies or everyone who voted for it was in a trance induced by the continued propaganda pumped out on the airwaves by the lobbyist organizations who will most profit from this expansion. I never thought in a million years that the people of Idaho would accept a socialist policy into their state voluntarily but alas it has happened.
We at the Gem State Patriot have been advocating for a change in the way healthcare is delivered to the citizens of Idaho who are on Medicaid by instituting a wellness program and not a sickness program. We continue to believe treating people with medications is not the only way to solve their problems. We believe instead that the essence of most of the medical problems people on Medicaid are being treated for could be remediated by simple lifestyle change. While we have many sources that tell us by simply changing what we eat, how we exercise and how we manage stress most of our problems are imminently solvable without medications and constant medical care.
We need to help the people who are suffering from many diseases like diabetes, obesity, autoimmune problems, and opioid addiction. We need to incentivize these people to change their lifestyles to fix many of these problems caused by underactivity and overindulgence. Medicaid expansion is not the answer to these problems coaching and education are the only way we will turn around this medical crisis which has been bleeding our state dry of precious resources. These resources could be put to better use than the perpetuation of continued sick care offered by socialistic programs like Medicaid which do nothing to help the poor get well but instead only treat their symptoms. What they do is to keep the poor sick and in poverty. Wouldn’t it be better to solve the root of these problems and get people back to being productive citizens? It’s time to change how we look at healthcare by working to resolve ourselves to helping those on social assistance programs to get off of them with proper education and training. We need to start saying “no more” to sick care and start wellness programs which will eventually pay for themselves as people learn how to take better care of themselves and get back to being productive. It costs a lot less to teach someone how to change their lifestyle than to keep treating their symptoms with more medications.
We are asking the legislature to take a good hard look at wellness programs and how we can integrate them into this new Medicaid Expansion and Regular Medicaid as well through the use of incentives for lifestyle change instead of drugs. We have seen how these wellness programs have worked in the corporate world and those companies who have used the proper incentives have seen drops in their medical cost of 25 to 40% in a matter of one year. We are asking our Idaho legislators to take some bold steps that are out of the mainstream Medicaid system and work with the medical community both allopathic, naturopathic and chiropractic along with a host of other practitioners who are trained in helping people with lifestyle changes. The time is now, the ball is in your court so let’s see if you can make these bold changes that are needed before we are caught in a financial crisis that we will not be able to dig ourselves out of.
“We Get the Government We Deserve”