Choosing hope over experience?
Critics have warned Oklahoma officials who are considering expansion of the Medicaid program in order to obtain Obamacare subsidies that the cost of the program is already unsustainable and will only get worse if more people are added to the rolls. Evidence for that argument can be seen in neighboring Arkansas, where that state’s Medicaid program has a shortfall of $358 million.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is proposing a combination of new spending (including one-time funds) and budget cuts to address the problem. And that’s the situation without an expansion of the program.
In Oklahoma, lawmakers in recent years have raided the Insure Oklahoma fund, which is meant to help citizens obtain private insurance, in order to prop up Medicaid. Medicaid’s Oklahoma costs continue to escalate even without the Obamacare expansion.
In both Oklahoma and Arkansas, an expansion of Medicaid could be the triumph of hope over budget experience.
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