Monday, November 04, 2013

Step away from Medicaid mirage, Gov. Beshear

While President Obama begins to get grief because the media is catching on to some of his fact-challenged health reform claims, Gov. Beshear grits his teeth hoping they won't notice his.

Specifically, Beshear has claimed repeatedly the state will incur no costs for Medicaid expansion for ObamaCare's first three years. Meanwhile, national media types are figuring out Medicaid will crush state budgets in the 26 states dumb enough to opt in to the Medicaid expansion.

Even that analysis is inaccurately rosy because it ignores the immediate new Medicaid costs to states under ObamaCare. Privately insured people with low incomes are forced into Medicaid immediately under ObamaCare and states don't get an enhanced federal match for costs of treating those people. States must absorb 100% of new Medicaid administration costs immediately under ObamaCare. In Kentucky, those costs will be over $40 million in calendar year 2014 and get higher after that.

KRS 205.520(3) requires that the Medicaid expansion be implemented only after legal administrative review as defined by KRS 13A. Because there is no legal mechanism for getting out of the Medicaid expansion once we go in, any review process we start now can't be legitimate. State law requires that a public hearing must be held on the expansion of Medicaid and KRS 13A.270(11) specifically requires that such a hearing must "guarantee each person who wishes to offer comment a fair and reasonable opportunity to do so." But there is nothing "fair and reasonable" about a process that can only have one outcome. To allow such a thing is to ignore Section 2 of the Kentucky Constitution and its unambiguous prohibition of absolute and arbitrary government. Had Gov. Beshear initiated this process on May 9 when he had his "Medicaid expansion" press conference, this process could have been initiated and completed legitimately and lawfully. Now, it can't. Gov. Beshear has a lot invested now in his bizarre claims of victory with ObamaCare, but Kentuckians have far more at stake in seeing that his ill-gotten powers be removed from him before he can do any more harm.