Liberal think tanks and columnists have been cranking out the arguments about why a state like Georgia would be foolish to reject Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. The expansion, which was made optional for states in the Supreme Court’s June ruling upholding the bulk of the law, would cost Georgia an estimated $2.5 billion over 10 years, according to state officials. Gov. Nathan Deal has said our state will not participate, but Obamacare supporters are trying to pressure him to change his mind.
Proponents of the expansion say hospitals and doctors in the state would receive an additional $33 billion in federal funds during that time frame. To hear them tell it, this is tantamount to finding $33 billion in between the couch cushions; they never mention whose pockets it’s falling from.
“The economics of this are very strongly in favor of adopting the expansion,” said John Holahan, study co-author and director of health policy research at the Urban Institute, in a recent AJC story. Holahan’s study puts the total federal cost of expanding Medicaid via Obamacare at $952 billion over 10 years if all 50 states participate. That’s a 26 percent increase on top of what’s already one of the federal government’s fastest-growing budget items. And, for you non-math majors, that comes out to $95.2 billion per year on average.
But here’s my question: Where do we find another $95.2 billion per year in a Washington that is currently:
No one in Washington seems to be talking seriously about deeper spending cuts or sharper tax increases than these, so we are talking about continuing to run annual deficits of well over half a trillion dollars before tacking on $95.2 billion in new Medicaid spending.
And remember: This is just the Medicaid portion of Obamacare. We’re not talking about subsidies for the federal exchanges or new costs for long-term care.
Why is it that none of the “found money” advocates ever explain how we’re going to pay for this new spending? Or do they think Georgia taxpayers will truly believe someone else will handle that federal portion of the cost?
– By Kyle Wingfield