Squandering $2 billion dollars in essentially free money is not what anyone would call “fiscal conservatism.” But that’s exactly what the phony fiscal conservatives in Republican-dominated state legislatures have done this year, according to Kevin Drum, of Mother Jones. This spectacular hypocrisy is the result of their obstinate, obstructionist, nihilistic, knee-jerk hate for all things Obama–and their utter disregard for the well-being of their economically disadvantaged constituents–which in this case comes in the form of not expanding Medicaid in their states.
In 2015, according to a survey by the Kaiser Foundation, spending by states that refused to expand Medicaid grew by 6.9 percent. That’s pretty close to the historical average. However, spending by states that accepted Medicaid expansion grew by only 3.4 percent. Obamacare may have increased total Medicaid enrollment and spending, but the feds picked up most of the tab. At the state level, it actually reined in the rate of growth.
In other words, the states that have refused the expansion…are actually willing to shell out money just to demonstrate their implacable hatred of Obamacare. How much money? Well, the expansion-refusing states spent $61 billion of their own money on Medicaid in 2014. If that had grown at 3.4 percent, instead of 6.9 percent, they would have saved about $2 billion this year.
So, Drum concludes, “states that refuse to expand Medicaid [like Missouri] are denying health care to the needy and paying about $2 billion for the privilege.”
And there’s even more:
The residents of every state pay taxes to fund Obamacare, whether they like it or not. Residents of states that refuse to expand Medicaid are paying about $50 billion in Obamacare taxes each year, and about $20 billion of that is for Medicaid expansion. Instead of flowing back into their states, this money is going straight to Washington DC, never to be seen again.
So, the bogus fiscal conservatives running state legislatures hate Washington so much that they are sending it $50 billion per year with no expectation of return on investment. [Note to self-proclaimed “free-market-capitalism” Republicans: Please review your notes from Capitalism 101 on ROI.]
This is what passes for “governance” in America today.