Painting Over The Problem


November 12, 2014 9:59AM

Here’s a question: If the engine of your car stopped working, what would you do? Would you (a) Take it to a mechanic and get it fixed, or (b) Get a new paint job? While most of us would clearly take our automobiles to be serviced in the event of engine failure, the same basic question is clearly more puzzling for government. What do bureaucrats do when their big-government programs fail? Unfortunately, taxpayers know the answer. As with almost every major government program, government’s go-to solution for addressing failure is to throw more tax dollars at it. But as Albert Einstein so eloquently reminded us, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If this is true, our bureaucrats should all be wearing straight jackets.  As we see with the continued erosion of care under the expansion of Medicaid, these sorts of surface repairs keep Americans trapped in a car that might appear desirable, but can’t take us anywhere. Just consider the current state of our Medicaid program. Many on the left continue to say that every state should expand Medicaid, because it‘s free money, since the federal government is subsidizing it. The complete ignorance of basic economics aside, Medicaid has proven to be a nearly useless form of ”insuring” our nation’s most vulnerable. As the Beacon Center has demonstrated in the past, studies show that those on Medicaid have no better health outcomes than those without insurance at all. When the Obama administration claims to provide healthcare to all Americans, does that not mean access? Or is it only a façade? When a startling one-third of physicians across the country now claim they will not accept new Medicaid enrollees, the patient is left wondering what good this expanded program does them. Weren’t Americans promised quality, affordable health insurance—even to the poorest among us? Instead of applying new coats of paint to a failing program, our government should instead insist on repairing the system with new parts that can cure, rather than perpetually treat, our healthcare crisis. The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem. While Democrats and some Republicans would rather bury their heads in the sand, the truth is that our most vulnerable citizens aren’t getting the care that they were promised. Instead, government is exasperating the problem with false claims that Medicaid expansion means access to care for millions of poor patients, As with the metaphor of a broken vehicle, we know where this sort of “fix” will lead us: millions of expectant patients wake up to a system that mislead them, keeps them clamoring for access to care, and takes taxpayers nowhere but down a path of socio-economic disaster. Let’s stop expanding a program that doesn’t work with money that we don’t have, and instead pursue real solutions that may actually make substantive differences in peoples’ lives. -Mark Cunningham