Yesterday in Manchester the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire partnered up with Freedom Works to hold an informational townhall regarding Medicaid Expansion in New Hampshire. As some of you may know, the Democrats in the House voted to pass Medicaid Expansion without having a way for the taxpayers of the Granite State to pay for it. The bill currently sits in the Senate where some Republicans are actually considering adding this huge government expansion to the ‘Live Free or Die’ state. Before these senators vote to turn New Hampshire into Massachusetts–light, they need to be reminded why Medicaid Expansion will hurt the state as well as the people who will be put into the program – many not by choice.
Granite Staters first need to understand that Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion is for able-bodied adults who choose to work part-time. Many (or most) of these people already have health insurance. The people eligible for Medicaid Expansion are not the same as though currently receiving Medicaid (the sick, disabled or poor) that New Hampshire tax payers already subsidize. Taxpayers currently spend $1.4 billion to take care of the truly needy. The sad part is Medicaid is the worst health care provider in the country yet Democrats, and some Republicans, want to push even more people onto this horrible program.
Another huge issue with Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion is that Democrats are only assuming 58,000 people will sign up when in reality around 100,000 people will be eligible. This drives the costs to New Hampshire taxpayers up exponentially. It is estimated that expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire could cost over $126 million through 2022 only using the 58,000 assumption. In a small state with a tight budget, this is simply not possible to manage unless new tax burdens are added. Since the Granite State already has one of the highest business profits tax in the country and one of the highest meals taxes in the country, where are they going to raise taxes to pay for this expansion? It will have to be either a sales tax or income tax.
Another point that you should know about Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion is the costs to hospitals. The expansion will cause hospitals to lose millions of dollars as people shift from private insurance to the poorly paying government program. While some hospitals are backing the expansion, others are not. Even those supporting the expansion admit they get paid less than it costs to provide the care. From Forbes:
Steve Ahnen, President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, which supports the Medicaid expansion, put out a press release in response to this article, in which Ahnen concedes that the Lewin Group projects that hospitals will lose revenue and income if New Hampshire expands Medicaid. “It is no secret that Medicaid pays hospitals and providers much less than the cost of providing their care,” he notes.
What happens if a hospital ends up having a large increase in the number of Medicaid patients thanks to the Obamacare expansion? That puts hospitals in danger of either ending their deal with the government which leaves patients less options (New Hampshire has already seen when Obamacare was rolled out and hospitals are limited); charging private insurers more than the astronomical prices they already pay or actually closing their doors. People may not think of hospitals as a ‘business’ but they are and no business can continually run at a loss.
There are more intended or unintended (you decide) consequences if the Senate decides to jump on the big government bandwagon. Once this program is put into place there is not one politician who will end it. No legislators have informed the state how they plan on paying for this behemoth addition of government in New Hampshire. No bill should ever be passed by ‘kicking the can down the road’ for a different Legislature to deal with the costs.
The price of Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in New Hampshire is severe in all aspects: poor health care provider; low payments to doctors and hospitals; millions of dollars that residents will now have the burden of paying; and a huge intrusion of the federal government on a state that has maintained a relatively small government since its birth. The majority of Granite Staters didn’t want Senator Jeanne Shaheen or Representative Carol Shea-Porter to vote for Obamacare in the first place (both did anyway). Why the Republican-controlled Senate would want to push Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in the state is mind boggling.