President Obama is doing his victory dance, telling us how his health care plan has become a success because his more than his targeted number (8 million) clicked their desire to have health insurance on a website. We will soon see how many are real policyholders, and later we will see their real costs as everything shakes out with co-pays and renewals next year. What we do know is that Medicaid is a pending disaster waiting to happen.
When the Obamacare registration period started we were regularly hearing about all those new Medicaid sign-ups. Then we did not hear about it. There are a few reasons for that. Some believe it was because some of the sign-ups were actually people who had insurance plans cancelled as part of the Obamacare realignment. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute told me the Obama Administration had put out a figure (8 million) that was shot down by every source as preposterous. He states the real figure is somewhere between 1.1 million and 1.8 million new sign-ups, and Tanner tells me his source on those numbers is legit. Now the Administration claims the figure is three million new sign-ups, bringing the total Medicaid recipients to 61 million.
So is that a good thing? Since Obamacare was supposedly established to address the now estimated 46 million uninsured Americans and one could presume that some just did not have the resources to pay for their own insurance, the answer would seem to be yes. Until you look at the facts.
Jason Fodeman, a physician and adjunct scholar at The James Madison Institute, did just that. His detailed policy study looked at Medicaid in Florida. Florida may not be a microcosm of the other 49 states, but as the third most populace state it certainly can be perceived as a reasonable indicator. Florida is one of the 21 states that rejected expanding Medicaid with federal tax dollars allegedly picking up 90% of the tab.
Some Governors have been running around stating they are being smart bringing tax dollars back to their states that would be taken by other Governors. There are two problems with their analysis. First, the government is not returning tax dollars to the states to pay for new Medicaid participants. That is because the funds used to cover these transfers are coming from debt financing. It would be different if we had a balanced budget, but anyone taking these additional dollars is helping to build the national debt.