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Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Democrats Insist Medicaid Expansion Works Wonders, Despite Evidence



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The first Morning Jolt of the week notes the sudden end of Liz Cheney’s Senate campaign, the need for a controlled, small-scale experiment on the minimum wage, and then these inconvenient truths that Obamacare defenders prefer to ignore:

Democrats Insist Medicaid Expansion Works Wonders, Despite Evidence

This sentiment, expressed by Eugene Robinson, is increasingly commonplace on the Left: “Now that the fight over Obamacare is history, perhaps everyone can finally focus on making the program work the way it was designed. Or, preferably, better.”

Excuse me. The problems of the program aren’t our fault. This thing didn’t turn into a national pain in the neck because those of us outside government aren’t helping enough. Nobody asked us to build the website. Nobody asked us to set up the requirements of insurance plans that spurred four to five million cancellations. We didn’t make the president promise that people could keep their plans, or that they could keep their doctor, or that their premiums would go down $2,500. We’re not the ones who insisted that requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions wouldn’t result in higher premiums for everyone. And we’re not the ones insisting people buy insurance they say they don’t need on an exchange that doesn’t work or fork over 1 percent of their income and greater portions in the future.

Robinson writes as if the primary problem with health care today is the 25 states with Republican governors that have chosen to not expand Medicaid. He must have missed the much-discussed new study revealing that “Medicaid coverage increases emergency department use, both overall and for a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subpopulations, visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.”

Keep in mind, the Medicaid expansion is constantly touted as saving money because, advocates theorize, the access to preventative care will reduce those expensive trips to the emergency room for primary care. The only problem is that this Oregon study shows the theory doesn’t work, meaning this is not the cost-saver the administration promised. And, oh, by the way, the New England Journal of Medicine found “Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years.”

So if it doesn’t make people healthier and it doesn’t lower health care costs . . . why are we doing it? And why is some outrageous crime for a state to say, “Eh, no, we’ll pass on that”?

In other Obamacare news, Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) announced he’s “filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to make Congress live by the letter of the health-care law it imposed on the rest of America. By arranging for me and other members of Congress and their staffs to receive benefits intentionally ruled out by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the administration has exceeded its legal authority.”

Oh, hey, the site’s still not working:

More than 100,000 Americans who applied for insurance through HealthCare.gov and were told they are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) remain unenrolled because of lingering software defects in the federal online marketplace, according to federal and state health officials.

The administration now insists there’s no “magic number” to get the exchanges to work, a claim that PolitiFact rates “mostly false,” pointing to past statements by Sebelius and other officials setting the goal at 7 million paid enrollees. In the administration’s defense, there is no “magic number” because numbers aren’t magic.


Tags: Obamacare , Medicaid


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