Friday, January 3, 2014

Medicaid Expansion: Rick Perry proven right...again.

[Author's Note: The WSJ piece is behind the paywall, we've transcribed from today's print edition.]

In 2012, Rick Perry declined Federal blood money to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.  In so doing, Governor Perry opened himself to flack from the Republican 'leadership' of the Texas House.  Today's Wall St. Journal details how the failure of Medicaid expansion in Oregon exceeded the most pessimistic expectations:
Some supporters of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul say that putting uninsured Americans on Medicaid will reduce costly emergency room visits by giving them more access to care in other settings. 
But a new study found the reverse: A group of 10,000 low-income Oregon residents who recently obtained Medicaid coverage visited ERs 40% more often than those without insurance.
The new Medicaid recipients used ERs more often for all kinds of health issues, including problems that could have been treated in doctors' offices during business hours, according to the study published Thursday in journal Science.  Earlier studies had found the same patients used more of other medical services as well. 
 "Now we know -- the hope that Medicaid will save money turns out not to be correct, at least in the first two years, " said Amy Finkelstein, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist and a principal investigator of the study. 
On average, the Medicaid recipients visited ERs in 12 Portland are hospitals 1.4 times during an 18-month period, compared with 1.02 visits for the control group without insurance.  Using $435 as the average cost of an ER visit, the researchers calculated that Medicaid increased annual ER spending by $120 a covered person.  Hospitals often end up footing the bill for uninsured patients.
But wait, it gets better:
Since October, nearly 4 million Americans have applied for Medicaid in the expansion states, according to the federal figures, and some hospitals are bracing for an increase in patients.  More than 72 million people -- roughly 20% of the U.S. population -- were covered by Medicaid for at least one month in 2012. .... Critics of the health-care overhaul said the study's findings confirmed their view that Medicaid expansion would cost more, not less.
Kudos to Governor Perry.  Medicaid is a sadistic program.  It bankrupts doctors and harms its recipients.  Medicaid expansion is a line in the sand.  Any Republican who would expand this monstrosity in exchange for 30 pieces of silver from Barack Obama deserves to lose.

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