A Denver Post story today details how Obamacare wasn’t so much about making private insurance affordable as expanding government-run healthcare:
In Denver, 2½ times as many people enrolled in the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program from October through the first quarter of 2014 as those who signed up for private insurance through the state exchange, state figures show. [the Peak emphasis]
State Sen. Kent Lambert argues this will end up as unfunded mandate by the Federal government, as Colorado in the future will have to come up for the funds to support this expansion of Medicaid.
“It’s a huge burden on taxpayers,” Lambert said. “Colorado made a decision, the governor made a decision under Democratic leadership to expand the criteria for Medicaid to a much larger population, and the federal government also expanded Medicaid.” [the Peak emphasis]
The Hickenlooper administration believes this is false, as the expansion of Medicaid will result in fewer ER visits and more preventive care:
Susan Birch, executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, said the Medicaid expansion will not impact the state budget but will help get costs under control.
“Taxpayers are paying for these people in emergency rooms and jails,” she said. “It’s far cheaper to coordinate care and keep asthma under control, keep diabetes from resulting in amputation.” [the Peak emphasis]
In the immortal words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!” According to a Harvard study reported on by The Washington Post back in January, the expansion of Medicaid actually does the opposite, it results in more ER visits:
As the health-care law expands Medicaid to cover millions more Americans, a new Harvard University study finds that enrollment in public program significantly increases enrollees’ use of emergency departments.
The research, published Thursday in the journal Science, showed a 40 percent increase in emergency department visits among those low-income adults in Oregon who gained Medicaid coverage in 2008 through a state lottery. [the Peak emphasis]
Not only will Colorado be on the hook to the tune of over $70 million next year to cover the Medicaid patients, according to the Joint Budget Committee, but we can now expect emergency rooms to be even more crowded. The worst of both worlds.
Peak Fact Check Verdict™: You’re full of it.