When Governor John Bel Edwards took office, he implemented Obamacare in Louisiana by expanding Medicaid to cover those adults whose incomes fall 138% below the poverty line. Many of these people are able-bodied adults who are more than capable of supporting themselves.
Among those who will be eligible for Medicaid are those who currently have private health insurance plans. The Legislative Fiscal Office expects 89,600 to drop their private insurance and join Medicaid.
John Bel says this is free money from the Federal government. After all, they’re paying for the first years of the expansion. But eventually the state will have to pay a portion of it.
By taking this “free money” John Bel Edwards is setting Louisiana up for financial ruin. Kevin Kane, president of The Pelican Institute, explains why in an interview with the Heartland Institute.
Kane says Edwards’ order increases the burden placed on the state’s taxpayers.
“The taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for these federal programs, so we should not pretend that this is ‘free’ money,” Kane said. “If the federal government reduces its share of the Medicaid burden, the states will have to pick up the slack.”
Instead of expanding Medicaid, states should be given more flexibility in determining how to handle uninsured citizens, Kane says.
“Unfortunately, states cannot take this power for themselves,” Kane said. “It will need to be granted by policymakers in [Washington,] DC. This is unlikely to happen unless states push back against Medicaid expansion and lobby for a new approach.”
By taking the “free money” now, Edwards is setting Louisiana up for financial ruin in the future. Is kicking the can down the road exactly what got us in this situation? If so, how is kicking the can further down the road going to get us out of it?
By every passing day, John Bel Edwards continues to prove how out of his league he is as governor of Louisiana.