The News & Observer earlier this week took the opportunity of Kansas’ decision to expand Medicaid to once again browbeat anybody opposing expansion in North Carolina.
The article title asks “What’s the Matter with North Carolina?”, and the first paragraph insists that failure to expand Medicaid is “bewildering” and “embarrassing.”
Notice the language. Their intent is not to offer persuasive arguments. Their intent is to ostracize anyone who doesn’t comport to their ideological goals. By asking ‘what’s the matter?’ with those who arrive at different conclusions about the costs and benefits of expansion (not to mention the greater centralization of power into the hands of the political class), they imply some sort of mental deficiency or character flaw.
Moreover, their stale, misleading attempts to defend expansion have been addressed countless times. Yet the N&O pretends such arguments don’t exist.
Let’s review a few of them.
The General Assembly’s Republican leaders say they oppose expanding Medicaid because it will increase state spending and the federal government could renege on paying 90 percent of the cost.
This can be addressed, the N&O insists, by putting in place safeguards that if the federal government reneges on its 90% payment share, the state could ‘cut back’ on expansion funding. As if once hundreds of thousands of additional North Carolinians are enrolled in Medicaid, the N&O wouldn’t be first in line objecting to these same people being ‘kicked off’ Medicaid should the federal share drop.
Moreover, its been pointed out many times that the federal government is already running trillion dollar deficits, meaning that any additional money spent by the feds on Medicaid expansion must be borrowed. Much of the federal government deficits are financed by new money printing by the Federal Reserve, which leads to inflation and stock market bubbles. The consequences are that low-income people fail to keep up with rising costs of living, while the wealthy get richer off artificially-inflated stock market gains. In this way, Medicaid expansion hurts the poor while benefitting the rich. The N&O remains silent on this.
They (MedEx opponents) don’t want “able bodied” people without dependents getting what they consider free insurance.
This point is grossly misleading. Opponents of Medicaid have repeatedly pointed out that the concern is that hundreds of thousands of new, able-bodied enrollees will crowd out access to care for the more needy traditional Medicaid population. North Carolina’s Medicaid program is already stretched incredibly thin, cramming in another half a million people will make it exceedingly difficult for those in need to find timely care.
…hospitals — not the state budget — will pick up the cost of the state’s 10 percent share.
This argument is presented as if the hospitals, many of which are already operating on thin margins or losses, will be able to just absorb the Medicaid expansion tax. How ironic that in the very next paragraph, they state “Hospitals pass the cost of caring for the uninsured to the insured.” Do they really not see that the cost of the expansion tax will also be passed along to the insured? Or do they just not want readers to connect the dots?
And as the cost of the expansion tax is passed along to the insured, the middle class is squeezed while insurance becomes unaffordable for more. This causes more to become uninsured, putting more strain on hospitals and possibly flooding the already overcrowded Medicaid program with more patients. Access becomes even more scarce.
There’s much more that could be said, but I’ll leave it at that.
Medicaid expansion is a bad deal for North Carolina, no matter how many other states succumb to its false promises.
To learn more – click on this Medicaid expansion resource page.