Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Al) warned state lawmakers in Alabama that Medicaid expansion “will eventually swamp the state.” He made the comments on March 25 on Birmingham’s “Matt & Aunie Show.”
The Yellowhammer News article notes that some Republicans in that state are softening to the idea of expansion. Palmer, who is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, called expansion “a bad path to take” and a “trap.”
Below is an excerpt from some of Palmer’s comments on what the potential of expansion means for Alabama. It certainly applies to North Carolina as well:
When you expand Medicaid, the administrative costs and the cost of expansion will eventually swamp the state. It has other states. Illinois is about to go bankrupt. Plus, it forces more people on the waiting list in the expansion state. Just in those states where Medicaid was expanded, 22,000 people have died on waiting lists. That’s what happens when you run out of money. And that was from the beginning of expansion to the first of last year. And that number has surely gone up.
Palmer goes on to call for block grants to give flexibility for states to better utilize federal Medicaid dollars.
Much of his remarks mirror the warnings we have been offering up at Civitas.
As I noted in an op-ed in the News & Observer in January, even Republican Medicaid expansion cheerleader John Kasich said that traditional Medicaid costs sharing will at some point be the norm under expansion. What does that mean? States will have to kick in a total amount of around 40 percent to cover the cost of adding able-bodied, childless adults to the Medicaid rolls. It will be disastrous for North Carolina’s budget and as Palmer warns, will drain the state of resources for other essential priorities.
Let’s hope politicians in our state don’t fall in the trap and mortgage our future for unsustainable federal dollars and promises.