AFP’s New Obamacare/Medicaid/Mary Landrieu Offensive

The ad which is out today and reminds the public that Mary Landrieu is the one who blew up that insurance you lost…

AFP’s Louisiana chapter is launching with a full-on attack on Obamacare, as last night they held a gathering of conservative activists on the Obamacare-related issue of Medicaid expansion, which the Democrats will be pushing again in this year’s legislative session when it starts next month.

Democrat state senator Ben Nevers is supposedly preparing a constitutional amendment which would put the question of expanding Medicaid in front of Louisiana’s voters, and naturally that has zero chance of passing. But Nevers, who is term-limited and some say is preparing a run for one of the minor statewide offices (Insurance Commissioner is one post we’ve heard his name in connected with), is really trying to prepare Medicaid expansion as an issue on which his party might ride into an electoral comeback.

Last night’s AFP event sought to answer a question which has bothered a number of the conservative activists who might be called into duty in the Medicaid-expansion debate; namely, they know they’re against expanding Medicaid but they’re not exactly sure why.

And that’s something of a problem, because while Louisiana seems to be getting less interested in voting Democrat from time to time there are polls out there which indicate the Dems do have something of an upper hand on the Medicaid issue.

Naturally, it’s one of those issues where the Democrat position is simple and attractive – “We’ve got to get these people covered with insurance, and this is a straightforward way to do it!” – while the Republican position is more complicated.

At last night’s event, the speakers for which were state reps. Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs), Barry Ivey (R-Central) and Scott Simon (R-Abita Springs), former state rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Woody Jenkins and Pelican Institute president Kevin Kane, along with AFP Louisiana director Philip Joffrion, that position was laid out.

And it boils down to this…

1. If Nevers and his people get their way, something like 42 percent of Louisiana’s population will get their health insurance from the government. That alone is offensive.

2. The feds are saying they’re going to cover 100 percent of the expansion costs for three years, and 90 percent after that. But there are major, major problems with that happy narrative…
a. Paying 10 percent of the expansion alone will cost Louisiana some $1.7 billion over 10 years, and we already know the state has a devil of a time balancing its budget as it is.
b. The feds are at $17 trillion in debt going on $20 trillion, and anybody who expects them to stand by their promises to pay for something like a Medicaid expansion is a fool.
c. We have a doctor shortage in this country which is getting worse all the time, and putting 42 percent of the state’s population on a government insurance program which is the single worst deal for doctors on the market will make very clear that “health insurance” is not the same thing as “health care.” If you can’t find doctors who will take your insurance, your insurance is a ripoff. Welcome to Medicaid, which the Democrats are so high on.
d. And for the coup de grace, there are long-term studies out there which show that your health outcome on Medicaid is no better than it is if you’re uninsured. In other words, we’ll spend all this taxpayer money getting people “covered” through Medicaid and they’re still going to clog up the emergency rooms and they’ll still get sick and die.

What wasn’t discussed at last night’s event, which we hoped would have been, was the fact that doctors get reimbursed for pennies on the dollar through Medicaid – and because docs who take Medicaid patients lose money on them they’ve got to make that up somewhere else, which is private insurance patients. So the more people you put on Medicaid, the more loss-leaders you’re going to impose on doctors (because, naturally, you’re not increasing the number of docs out there and probably doing the reverse), and the more expensive you’ll make private insurance as a result. And the more expensive private insurance gets, the more uninsured people you’ll have, which means more people we’d have to expand Medicaid to cover…and on and on it goes. The release valve to that vicious cycle is that doctors won’t treat Medicaid patients because the payment schedule sucks so badly, so you’ll have the additional feature of massive numbers of folks who are “covered” but can’t get health care because they have to wait so long to see a doctor.

That’s a bit wordier case than “Free Stuff!” but it has the benefit of reality. It’s going to take a fairly sizable educational initiative to get the public to understand the issue – it doesn’t, currently – but it’s well worth while.

But in the meantime, beating Landrieu up for her Obamacare vote and the lousy results she generated with it (at last count we’re above 90,000 people in Louisiana who lost their insurance thanks to Obamacare, and interestingly enough Kane said last night that he is one of them) is an easy score for AFP. That’s why the new ad starts running today, and another one will follow it. And another, and another, until Election Day.

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