Even though Dave Safier writes “Say yes to expanding Medicaid”. On the surface this expansion of Medicaid looks like a no-brainer to many. 200,000+ Arizonans become eligible for coverage; 90 percent of the cost is covered by the feds; the remaining 10% paid through a hospital tax, which is supported by the hospitals who will supposedly see a greatly reduced demand for free services.
You might ask “Where is the downside?” Well, there is no guarantee that the feds in a couple of years will decide to partially or fully defund their 90 percent share, especially with the continuing growth of the the federal debt and yearly deficits. If (and more likely, when) this occurs, will the Arizona governor and lawmakers have the political will to then drop these 200,000+ recent enrollees by changing Medicaid eligibility standards? Otherwise, this will become a new $1 Billion unfunded item added to the state budget. It is suggested that this windfall of federal money will create some 21,000 well paying jobs and provide more tax dollars. Big claims, no proof. Also, somehow this expansion of government’s role in health coverage is now a “moral” issue. Legislating morality is a slippery slope that a self-described Progressive Democrat may wish to avoid.
This whole idea is part of the 2500+ page Obama-Care health bill railroaded through the Congress when the Democrats controlled both houses. Considering all this plus the dire need to reduce spending at all levels of government, we should not involve the state of Arizona in what will be another costly expanded welfare program.