Unwinding ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion

|

ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is unfolding as a fiscal nightmare – not just for the federal government, but for states as well, now that state matching funds have come due. States that opted to expand ObamaCare have witnessed an enrollment explosion. In fact, more than twice as many able-bodied adults have enrolled in the expansion than states expected would ever sign up at any point in the future. In some states, enrollment has already greatly exceeded what states believed to be the entire eligible population.

This enrollment explosion has led to significant cost overruns in the states. Below are just a few examples:

  • Alaska: $61 million (42%) over-budget in the first year
  • California: $14.7 billion (222%) over-budget in the first 1.5 years
  • Colorado: $550 million (45%) over-budget in the first 1.5 years
  • Illinois: $2 billion (70%) over-budget in the first 2 years
  • Iowa: $338 million (56%) over-budget in the first 1.5 years
  • Kentucky: $3 billion (107%) over-budget in the first 2.5 years
  • New Mexico: $600 million (45%) over-budget in the first 1.5 years
  • North Dakota: $67 million (114%) over-budget in the first year
  • Ohio: $4.7 billion (87%) over-budget in the first 2.75 years
  • Oregon: $2 billion (128%) over-budget in the first 1.5 years
  • West Virginia: $198 million (46%) over-budget in the first full fiscal year

This enrollment and budget explosion means fewer resources available for other priorities, including education and public safety. But worse than that, it means even less funding for services to seniors, poor children, and individuals with disabilities.

ObamaCare is already making welfare for able-bodied adults a higher priority than funding for the truly needy. For example, since Illinois expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare, more than 750 individuals with developmental disabilities have died while on waiting lists for needed Medicaid services. Every dollar spent on ObamaCare expansion is a dollar that cannot be used to fund services for the most vulnerable and ObamaCare’s enrollment explosion makes
this problem even worse.