Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Medicaid Is Free. So Why Does It Require a Mandate? The CBO estimates that five million fewer people would sign up without the ObamaCare tax penalty.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Congressional Budget Office is out with its analysis of the House Republicans’ ObamaCare replacement, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The CBO’s report includes an implicit but powerful indictment of Medicaid, America’s second-largest health care entitlement.

Medicaid has been around since 1965; it was a core part of LBJ’s Great Society entitlement expansion. The program’s idiosyncratic design requires states to chip in around 40% of the program’s funding, while only getting to control about 5% of how the program is run. The federal Medicaid law—Title XIX of the Social Security Act—mandates a laundry list of benefits that states must provide through Medicaid, and bars states from charging premiums. Copays and deductibles cannot exceed a token amount.

Medicaid is the largest or second-largest line item in nearly every state budget. But for all practical purposes, the main tool states have to control costs is to pay doctors and hospitals less than private insurers pay for the same care. As a result, fewer doctors accept Medicaid patients, making it very hard for Medicaid enrollees to get access to care when they need it. Poor access, in turn, means that Medicaid enrollees—remarkably—have no better health outcomes than those with no insurance at all.

That brings us back to the AHCA. According to the CBO, able-bodied adults on Medicaid receive about $6,000 a year in government health-insurance benefits. They pay no premiums and minimal copays. You’d think that eligible individuals would need no prodding to sign up for such a benefit.
Charity from taxpayers , in the news.