November 16, 2015

Recently the News and Observer’s Ned Barnett interviewed Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, who made a startling claim. Republicans in the Legislature are to blame for ObamaCare’s escalating health insurance premiums. And Ned and Wayne are actually serious.

Never mind that Democrats passed ObamaCare on a party line vote. Never mind they hadn’t even read it. It’s Republican Legislators’ fault ObamaCare premiums are rising 32% in North Carolina.

But as Triad Conservative noted, ”Goodwin conveniently fails to mention the flawed design of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the fraudulent promises and representations that were made to get it passed.”

Let’s look at the arguments Ned and Wayne use to blame the Legislature for health insurance sticker shock under ObamaCare.

First, they contend North Carolina needs to expand Medicaid’s free benefits to single, childless, able bodied adults. These are working age adults without dependents but many don’t bother with anything so discomforting as a job. Giving them free Medicaid is supposed to keep them out of the high cost ER for their healthcare where they can pass their charges onto everyone else.

But in fact, Medicaid expansion in Oregon increased ER use 40% according to Harvard and MIT. “Medicaid coverage increases emergency department use, both overall and for a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subpopulations,” says Amy Finkelstein, an economics professor at MIT and one of the authors of the study. “Including visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.”

Besides, where do ObamaCare twins Ned and Wayne think the state will get $3 billion needed to match Washington’s Medicaid expansion money? Obviously, it comes from taxpayers. How does that help? Medicaid expansion just increases costs.

Ned and Wayne also want us to have our own ObamaCare exchange. But where do we get that money?

Modern Healthcare reports Washington has blown through money available for ObamaCare exchanges.

And with the Federal well running dry, state exchanges are going into deficits which state taxpayers have to cover . Oregon $2 million. Washington State $4 million. Minnesota is taxing insurance and dipping into the general fund. Modern Healthcare says ”Colorado, Oregon and Rhode Island are considering abandoning their state-run exchanges and using the federal exchange because of financial struggles.”

Why should we listen to ideological ax grinders like Ned and Wayne who advocate getting into this mess? There is no magic money machine.

If we are going to live under ObamaCare, let Washington pay for the exchange like Tom Sawyer got others to paint the fence.