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November 12th, 2010 2:00 pm
Will ObamaCare Force States to Drop Medicaid?

On today’s Foundry blog at the Heritage Foundation there is a crisp analysis of the cost-cutting decisions being weighed by states threatened with billions in rising health care costs under ObamaCare.  With a massive, mandatory expansion of Medicaid rolls beginning in 2014, state budget writers are seriously considering dropping out of the Medicaid program in order to avoid bankrupting their treasuries.

Granted, it’s outrageous that the liberal elites running Washington, D.C. are forcing state governments to spend more of their taxpayers’ money on health care.  After all, the States didn’t get to vote on ObamaCare.  But too often in this debate there’s a simple – though difficult – solution that up until now hasn’t been mentioned.

Opt out.  The only way the federal government can dictate spending and policy decisions to the states is if the states agree to the terms.  Those terms are buried in the fine print of federal programs that condition receipt of federal money on compliance with federal policies.  Like dramatically increasing Medicaid rolls.

Though opting out of Medicaid will be difficult because it also means losing the matching funds that come with it, the renewed control over a state’s budget should give state legislators much more room to maneuver during this era of dwindling tax receipts.  Governments, like individuals, need options.  Opting out of Medicaid is an important first step to regaining state sovereignty.

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