Lost in this debate is the fact that Oklahoma has already and significantly expanded Medicaid over the past two decades. According to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority's own numbers, the costs of Medicaid in Oklahoma have increased four times what they were in fiscal 1996.
Who stands to gain? Oklahoma hospitals, of course, which in FY 2012 got $876 million for inpatient and outpatient services. State government spends more on Medicaid then it does on common education and higher education combined. Twenty-six percent of the state's population is already dependent upon Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid could add 235,000 Oklahomans to the Medicaid rolls — dramatically increasing the budgetary cost even further.
What's the answer for Oklahoma policymakers on Medicaid? Reform it, don't expand it!
Ball is state director of Americans For Prosperity.