Kansas Should Avoid the Medicaid Expansion Trap

The Kansas legislature has wisely rejected ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion year after year. As a result, policymakers have protected taxpayers and the truly vulnerable from costly enrollment overruns. But now, despite a rapidly shifting health care landscape, special interest groups are once again ramping up pressure on state lawmakers to expand ObamaCare to a new class of able-bodied, mostly childless adults. Thanks to the prudence of Governor Sam Brownback and legislative leaders, Kansas is now in a position to learn from the mistakes of other states that bought into Washington’s false promises of flexibility and “free money.” They’ve also created a welfare reform model for the nation that they should build on, not diminish.

ObamaCare Expansion States Are Facing Crisis

Across the map, states that opted into ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion for able-bodied adults are now dealing with the fallout. As of January 1, they’re on the hook for 5 percent of the costs of the expansion, with that share growing over time. That assumes that Congress doesn’t follow through on their pledge to shift even more of those costs on to states or eliminate the expansion altogether. Given that Medicaid is already the largest and fastest-growing line item in most state budgets, this is bad news for policymakers who are trying to manage limited resources. But the news is actually even worse: expansion states have blown through their enrollment projections and taxpayers are on the hook for millions more enrollees than anticipated.