The Immorality of Medicaid Expansion

Recently, I noted there is nothing moral about throwing more people into a broken Medicaid program without reform. Proponents of the expansion have twisted that statement to claim expansion opponents think no insurance is better than bad insurance. But that’s not my position, even if it’s true. A study from the University of Virginia found Medicaid patients were MORE likely to die following surgery than uninsured patients.

In short, it’s wrong to force struggling Pennsylvanians to choose between bad insurance and no insurance. We can and must do better.

Reform starts with giving Medicaid patients real choice. It’s unfair to treat the poor as incapable of making their own health decisions, including treatment or their ability to choose between various providers and plans. If we really care about the poor, shouldn’t we give them the same opportunities we have? Isn’t that the fair thing to do?

Expanding Medicaid without reforms will only result in reducing choices, further deteriorating the quality of care Medicaid patients receive. New Medicaid health insurance cards are already rejected at 1 in 3 doctor’s offices. It’s simply disingenuous to promise more Pennsylvanians “free health care” when access is already a problem. No wonder Medicaid patients are more likely to end up in the ER than privately insured patients.

On top of limited access and subpar care, the program is a frequent target of fraudsters and abuse, leaving fewer resources for the truly ill. In recent weeks, Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast agreed to pay Texas $1.4 million for overcharging their state Medicaid program and a CNN investigation uncovered widespread Medicaid fraud at drug rehab clinics in California.

Medicaid expansion without reform would widen the gap between those who do and do not have quality health insurance. It’s time to get rid of our double standard and fix Medicaid.