The Long Line for Medicaid
BY JUSTIN OWEN
Yet another Medicaid expansion state is facing much higher emergency room visits than projected. ER visits by those on California’s Medicaid program have risen by 75% in just five years. This appears to be a trend among states that took the “free federal dollars” under Obamacare to drastically expand their Medicaid rolls. One of the main causes of this rise is that fewer and fewer doctors are willing to see new Medicaid patients. So, as the program’s rolls swell in these states, the only place left for enrollees to turn with their new free health insurance is the emergency room.
As we warned when we opposed Gov. Haslam’s proposal to expand Medicaid two years ago, adding upwards of 500,000 able-bodied, working age adults to our program would create even longer lines for care and fewer physician options. This would squeeze out those already on the program so that they would barely be able to receive care. The spikes in ER visits by newly eligible populations in expansion states, such as California, demonstrate that our initial concerns for those most in need are panning out.
This new information is just more evidence that our state’s refusal to expand an already strained government program like Medicaid was not just fiscally responsible; it was also the moral thing to do.