Missouri voters should vote NO on Amendment 2 on Aug. 4. Amendment 2 is an expansion of Obamacare, another sneaky effort to expand taxpayer-funded abortions and bankrupt the state. This socialistic monstrosity is the latest example of “government creep,” the never-ending attempt by government to control our lives and rob us of our freedom.
Amendment 2 expands Medicaid eligibility to individuals earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This figure equates to an individual earning $17,236 per year or a family of four earning $35,535. Those who want to expand Medicaid say it will help the poor and help rural hospitals stay in business. Malarkey.
For example, Arizona’s expansion in 2002 initially projected slow enrollment growth, sustainable costs, a reduction in the number of uninsured and reduced uncompensated care. Instead, the expanded population (most childless adults) ended up costing two to four times more than the cost of covering low-income parents. Similar outcomes occurred in other expansion states like Oregon, Delaware, Maine, Utah and Vermont.
Not only are cost overruns a threat, according to the John Locke Foundation, but the problem may not provide adequate health outcomes either. The 2008 Oregon Health Insurance Experiment is known as the “gold standard” of studies because it randomly assigned eligible patients to the state’s Medicaid program. Two years later, the authors concluded that Medicaid had no statistically significant effect on major measures of health outcomes between those who had been chosen to participate and those who had not.
Medicaid (known as “MO HealthNet” in Missouri) was created and is largely controlled by the federal government. There is great controversy over how much Amendment 2 will cost in the future. No one is sure how many people will sign up. And here’s some more danger: The federal government can change its 90 percent reimbursement rate to the state at any time. It was 100 percent when the expansion program was created as part of Obamacare. If the percentage a state must pay continues to go up, sooner or later so will taxes. And that does not help the poor or Missouri working families.
In North Carolina, Medicaid expansion, it is estimated, will cost $6 billion between 2020 and 2030. To pay for it the North Carolina legislature will need to either reduce provider payments, raise taxes or divert resources from education, transportation and other essential parts of the budget. Gov. Mike Parson has warned that this is no time for increased spending. In fact, because of the COVID-19 shutdown, state spending had to be dramatically cut.
Then there is the problem with fraud. Data suggests that up to 10 percent of all Missouri Medicaid dollars – equaling billions of dollars every year – are lost to fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. Dishonest health care professionals continue to waste taxpayer dollars and increase the cost of health care for all Missouri residents. The Missouri Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigates and prosecutes allegations of health care fraud committed by Medicaid providers. In 2015 alone, the Missouri MFCU prosecuted 15 criminal convictions and 29 civil settlements, recovering more than $12 million stolen via Missouri Medicaid fraud and abuse.
Finally Amendment 2 will open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions and increase the number of unborn babies killed. Abortion is not medical care, and it has no legitimate place in programs, such as Medicaid, that are supposed to address the health care needs of Missourians. Missouri Right to Life opposes Amendment 2. It will greatly increase the number of young adult women who would qualify for Medicaid payments for “morning after” abortion pills. The more Medicaid is expanded, the more taxpayer money is paid to Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. The heavy-handedness of the federal government is expressed in the federal Medicaid statute that forbids disqualification of any abortion providers.
Amendment 2 proposes to change the Missouri Constitution, and once it is there the Missouri General Assembly cannot touch it. It can only be amended through another vote by the people. It is unwise to put a portion of it into the state constitution where it would be locked beyond the power of the legislature to change no matter what emergencies may arise in the future.
President Ronald Reagan warned us that socialized medicine will rob us of our freedom. “One of the traditional methods of imposing … socialism on a people has been by way of medicine,” he said. “It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project, most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.” That is exactly what we have going on here. Expanding the eligibility pool for government health insurance programs crowds out access to private insurance coverage, limiting consumer choices and ultimately – freedom. Missourians should vote NO on Aug. 4.