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The New Hampshire Medicaid Mistake

New Hampshire is now ground zero in the fight to stop ObamaCare.

It seems like another year and another session of the New Hampshire General Court can only mean one thing – the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion is back on the table.  The Democrat-controlled House wasted no time passing their expansion plan, sending it to the Senate. The slim 13-11 Republican majority in the Senate is the only barrier between New Hampshire residents and a massive welfare expansion that will break the state’s budget and force Concord to consider a massive tax hike in order to cover the costs.  New Hampshire is now ground zero in the fight to stop ObamaCare.

Yet, despite a party platform whose goals include to “oppose the implementation of Obamacare in New Hampshire”, the Senate Republicans are once again trying to pass their own Medicaid expansion (you may remember their last attempt, in November).  Make no mistake - a vote to expand Medicaid is a vote to expand Obamacare. The Medicaid Expansion is an essential component of ObamaCare, an attempt to save money by shoving lower-income uninsured into a program that many doctors won’t even accept because its reimbursement rates are so low. 

The first major flaw with the Republican plan is that it relies upon getting a federal waiver that allows them to send those enrolled under the plan into the state’s ObamaCare insurance exchange.  Even if this waiver is granted – and there’s no guarantee – only one insurance company has even signed up for the exchange, and the structural and security problems with the exchanges have been well documented.

But the most devastating consequence of the Medicaid expansion – either under the Republican or Democrat plans – will be the budget-shattering costs associated with the program. The federal government is slated to pick up the entire cost of the newly-covered people under the expansion for the first three years, but that is where the guarantee ends.  Although the federal matching funds are scheduled to only slightly decrease, the reality is that mounting budgetary pressures in D.C. are putting pressure on Congress to decrease federal Medicaid funding.  Congressman Paul Ryan recently stated that the federal Medicaid funding match rate will be “the fastest thing that’s going to go when we’re cutting spending in Washington.” 

When the federal money inevitably starts to dry up, New Hampshire taxpayers are going to be saddled with the tax burden of covering the tens of thousands of individuals who have been promised free coverage.  This cost can only be borne by levying a major tax hike, likely in the form of an income tax.

Republicans in the Senate need to be reminded that they were not sent to Concord to emulate Washington D.C.’s irresponsible tax-and-spend behavior.  Certainly, they were not sent there to have New Hampshire join ObamaCare and send tens of thousands of citizens into a failing and unsustainable federal program that provides substandard health care. A vote to expand Medicaid is a vote to expand Obamacare.