Medicaid Expansion – still a bad idea

Folks interested in facts, know the fiscal costs of Medicaid expansion, are well aware of the human costs of Medicaid expansion and understand that Medicaid reform must be the pre-cursor to any expansion.  The good folks at the Mercatus Institute explain why Medicaid expansion is a poor use of taxpayer dollars.

  • Spending on Medicaid expansion enrollees is nearly 50% higher than the government projected
  • Medicaid enrollees obtain only 20 to 40 cents of value for each dollar the government spends on their behalf.
  • Medicaid enrollees were significantly more likely than others to experience complications, to spend additional time in the hospital, and to die in the hospital.
  • Medicaid enrollees frequently receive inferior medical treatment, are often assigned to less-skilled surgeons, and tend to receive poorer post-operative instructions.
  • In an Oregon Medicaid expansion experiment, Medicaid enrollment increased outpatient visits, hospitalizations, the use of prescription medications, and emergency room visits, but it did not produce discernible improvements on any of the three physical health metrics evaluated: blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar.
  • Expanding Medicaid increases demand for health care services, and therefore affects the allocation of those services.
  • Medicaid enrollment may reduce an enrollee’s medical debts by as much as $1,000. But from a societal perspective, there is no gain. The benefit to enrollees and providers is fully offset by the cost to taxpayers.
  • Claims that ACA’s Medicaid expansion saves states money is fully offset by the cost of higher federal spending and thus federal taxes.

Read Mercatus Institute senior research fellow, Brian Blase’s Forbes post here.

Becki Gray / Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Outreach

Becki Gray is Senior Vice President of the John Locke Foundation. She provides information, consultation, and publications to elected officials, government staff and other dec...