Medicaid Expansion: Beating a Trojan Horse
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana continue wrangling with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, a policy that should’ve been dead on arrival in every state with a Republican governor.
Who would have guessed so many states that sued DC for the freedom to opt out of Medicaid expansion would even consider opening their gates for new entitlement funding from a government that’s effectively bankrupt?
To describe the arguments for Medicaid expansion as “bad” would be like calling Oedipus Rex “kind of a downer.” Consider the latest example from here in the Buckeye State: “Medicaid expansion would cost Ohio less than doing nothing, study shows.”
That’s not a satirical blurb I made up to mock liberals – that’s a headline from The Columbus Dispatch, the most influential newspaper in the state.
See, in January the Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, Toledo Blade, and Akron Beacon Journal each endorsed the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and every paper did so while leaning on projections from a Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) study.
The January HPIO study was a shining tribute to The Broken Window Fallacy, framing Obamacare funding as free money that would create jobs and pump up tax revenues in the state.
Through some combination of ideology and ignorance, the editorial boards all agreed HPIO’s study proved Governor John Kasich, supposedly a small-government conservative, had made a bold, pragmatic choice by caving to Obamacare – and it showed in each paper’s news coverage.
Fast forward to the August legislative recess, after “flint-hearted,” “off-the-chart right” House Republicans dashed the hopes of Gov. Kasich, progressive activists, the hospital lobby, the Chamber of Commerce, and the media by stripping the Obamacare Medicaid expansion from Kasich’s biennial budget.
The big papers have ensured no criticism of Medicaid expansion sees the light of day in their reputable publications, but in a state where all 88 counties voted for a Healthcare Freedom Amendment in 2011, the Obamacare Trojan horse needs a little extra varnish.
What better way to rustle up support for a key component of President Obama’s imploding health law than with another HPIO study founded on ridiculous fallacies?
The Plain Dealer editors have openly encouraged “casting Medicaid expansion as Medicaid reform,” telegraphing which lies Obamacare advocates should tell. This month, HPIO delivered with a report designed for muddling Medicaid expansion and Medicaid reform in the minds of low-information voters.
In its new study, HPIO compared Ohio’s estimated future Medicaid spending with two scenarios that both assumed Ohio adopts the Obamacare expansion while putting ambitious caps on Medicaid spending growth.
The study concluded that by holding spending growth far below its expected trend, Ohio could save enough money to cover the cost of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion… and the press reported this as “YOU GUYS, expanding Medicaid would save money!”
Think about that: Ohio reporters think Ohioans are so stupid, we’ll believe it would cost less than nothing to expand Medicaid to unknown hundreds of thousands of able-bodied childless adults under the age of 65.
Unfortunately for Obamacare backers and the state-worshiping press, it gets easier every day for citizens to find information online, check competing arguments for themselves, and reach out to friends, family, and their elected officials with what they learn.
To those of you in Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania dealing with equally invertebrate Republicans and shameless journalists, Godspeed!
Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart