Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett may be wavering on his refusal to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare’s bait-and-switch funding scheme.
I don’t envy him. He’s surrounded by states like Ohio and New Jersey, whose GOP governors opted to indulge the fantasy that they can accept the federal government’s promise of full funding at face value.
To his credit, Corbett isn’t allowing himself to act like there are no costs associated with agreeing to so-called “free” Medicaid expansion for the next three years.
Here’s some refreshing honesty from Corbett’s spokeswoman Christine Cronkright:
The Corbett administration has estimated that participating in the Medicaid expansion that would add 800,000 people to medical assistance would cost Pennsylvania $1 billion through 2014-15 and a total of $4.1 billion. Advocates maintain that the Medicaid expansion would pay the way for $43 billion in federal contributions, beginning with three years in which the federal government would pay 100 percent of the expansion.
“Regardless of the federal government’s claims, the presumption that they will cover 100 percent of the costs of full expansion is simply not true. Regardless of any other costs under the (Affordable Care Act) that we’d have to bear, there are still IT and staffing costs, costs for additional clients coming into the system that may have been eligible before, and costs for those we believe will drop employer-based coverage,” Cronkright said.
So it turns out “free” really means $1-4 billion.
The simple truth about ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is that it establishes a one-way street toward greater federal intervention in every individual’s health care decisions. Democrats know this, and are using the “free” money trope to lure weak-willed Republicans into a federally-dominated system from which a state will not be able to extract itself.
GOP governors who agree to expansion and believe that they will have the political support to simply cut off access to Medicaid when the feds pull back funding are deluding themselves. Besides, what kind of leadership is it to support welfare expansion on the condition that someone else pays for it with their debt-laden credit card?
So far, Governor Corbett is standing firm in the face of tremendous opposition to fiscal sanity. Let’s hope he continues.