Crowding Out a Solution
BY JUSTIN OWEN
As our researchers at Beacon have been anticipating, TennCare enrollment has skyrocketed due to Obamacare’s mandate to purchase insurance. We’ve been sounding the alarm about the “woodwork effect” of those who qualify for TennCare but had previously failed to enroll in the government-run insurance program. Now that Tennesseans will be fined for going without insurance, those who qualify for free TennCare are certainly starting to take advantage of it. Thus far in 2014, enrollment has grown by 120,000 people, and this is happening even without a Medicaid expansion in our state. If we were to expand Medicaid as President Obama has pushed our state to do, this means even more people – at even greater costs – crowding onto the TennCare rolls. This is bad for those already on the program, it’s bad for those who would be enrolled, and it’s bad for taxpayers who can ill afford to cover the tab. It’s enough to grabble with the costly and unavoidable woodwork effect; it’s another to voluntarily submit to more pain. To learn more about the consequences of expanding the program, check out this new infographic we released along with State Budget Solutions and Federalism in Action.