The saddest thing about the expansion of Medicaid, which will cost federal taxpayers at least half a trillion dollars over the next decade, is that it isn’t likely to improve health outcomes for new enrollees.
Medicaid pays doctors below-market reimbursements and burdens them with extensive paperwork and bureaucracy. Adding 12 million people to Medicaid rolls, which is CBO’s current projection of the impact of the expansion, will only exacerbate the shortage of primary care physicians and specialists who can afford to take Medicaid patients and add significantly to emergency rooms' workload.
Medicaid is so broken that surgical outcomes for Medicaid patients are actually worse than for patients who are uninsured. A landmark 2010 study from the University of Virginia, "Primary Payer Status Affects Mortality for Major Surgical Operations," found that that surgical patients on Medicaid are 13 percent more likely to die than uninsured patients.
While the question of whether or not to expand Medicaid is intensely polarized politically, the issue of ending the bed tax scam is not. President Obama proposed closing the loophole. He’s right, and Republicans should take him up on the offer in the next package of spending cuts they pass.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.
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