Obamacare is already harming state finances. Thanks to its individual mandate, Gov. Mary Fallin expects an additional $40 million will be needed to cover “woodwork” Medicaid enrollees who are currently eligible for the program but don't use it.
Under Obamacare, those individuals face a tax of as much as $2,085 per family if they don't have the government-sanctioned level of coverage. At the same time, Obamacare is causing the price of individual policies to skyrocket in the private market. Research conducted by Merrill Matthews, resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, and Mark E. Litow, past chairman of the Social Insurance Public Finance Section of the Society of Actuaries, shows Oklahoma premiums in the individual market could increase between 65 percent and 100 percent due to Obamacare's mandates.
Ironically, many citizens who will be forced onto Medicaid don't feel they need it and/or don't believe other taxpayers should be forced to foot the bill. Ian Gliori and his wife, Phyllis, offer an example. The couple, who run a small restaurant, would have qualified for Medicaid coverage under Obamacare's expansion of that program (rejected by Oklahoma), but say they don't want it.
“I just don't want government in my life,” Ian Gliori told Oklahoma Watch. “I don't want their help.”
The extra $40 million for Medicaid will divert at least $400 million over the next decade from schools, roads, and public safety — not including health care inflation. Based on Oklahoma's average teacher salary, the amount would cover the cost of more than 900 teachers' jobs every year.
That's a high price to pay just to force people like the Glioris to either spend money they don't have on increasingly expensive coverage they can't afford or shift the burden to other taxpayers by signing up for a Medicaid program whose services they don't need.