The Corner

Mike Pence Gives In and Expands Medicaid

Via Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner comes the news that governor Mike Pence is moving forward with his misguided decision to expand Medicaid:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was known as a stalwart fighter for limited government principles as a member of the House of Representatives (one of few Republicans to have voted against President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug plan and No Child Left Behind law). But on Tuesday, he betrayed taxpayers when he embraced an expansion of Medicaid through President Obama’s healthcare law.

Pence argues that his expansion of Medicaid is actually a victory for market-based principles because of concessions he won from the Obama administration providing the state more flexibility over the implementation of the program. But this is merely window dressing. Any plan that expands the Medicaid program imposes more costs on taxpayers, expands the federal role in healthcare and should be passionately opposed by those who care about the nation’s future. The Congressional Budget Office, in its latest report, said that the federal government will be spending $920 billion over a decade expanding Medicaid through Obamacare.

Klein adds that, while Pence likely caved to the pressure of interest groups like the hospital lobby, this major betrayal should have consequences if he decides to run as president. Let’s not forget that the Medicaid expansion comes on top of his support for Common Core and, now the news that he’s creating a state-run taxpayer-funded news service that “will make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media, as well as sometimes break news about his administration.” Oh boy. 

This news is even more disappointing because Pence was one of the rare conservatives who stayed loyal to his free-market principles when he was in Congress during the Bush years. He voted against No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D, for instance, when so many of his colleagues went ahead and embraced bigger government policies in the name of politically driven compromise and government-induced competition. 

As Klein concludes:

Myopic Republican governors think they can fool conservatives by gaining token concessions on what remains a government-run healthcare program and calling it “free market reform.” But the Obama administration is playing the long game, realizing that if it keeps adding beneficiaries to the books, big government liberalism wins.

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