The “People First, Not Politics” editorial as well as the “Medicaid expansion makes moral sense” letter In the March 17 edition both place the cart before the horse. No one wants to ask the singular most important question: “Where is the money to fund it?”
The Medicaid expansion, included in the Affordable Care Act, that everyone is so anxious to have our state get a piece of, is funded with supposed savings of $750 million from Medicare. To date, the parties that pushed this boondoggle through have been very rarely asked to identify these savings. When they have been asked this question the answer has been “efficient use of the funding,” a fancy way of staving off from answering truthfully that there is no such money. The funding, to say the least, is a house of cards.
I have nothing against helping those who want to help themselves but I am glad that our state, for whatever motive, will not participate in the expansion. The argument that if the state is left holding the bag in four of five years they can opt out is ridiculous. When was the last time that it was easy to scuttle an existing government program? It never happens. The federal government is far away while the state government is right here to catch the flak.
The federal government already has an outstanding debt of $17 trillion that equates to over $100,000 per person. This will almost assuredly land on the shoulders of the next generation and almost all families have members in that group. It is just a matter of time before we will again be talking about raising the debt limit to pay our way and this does not include the $750 million in Medicare savings that do not exist. Very interestingly the administration now wants to again use $250 million, part of the so-called savings, also to reduce the deficit. I wish we could all pull money out of thin air like that.