MEDICAID EXPANSION. GOOD POLICY OR GOOD POLITICS?

Gary Pearce is the Democratic political guru behind Jim Hunt’s career and the brain behind an empty suit named John Edwards who almost landed in the White House. When Pearce talks, people ought to listen.

And Pearce was talking about ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion recently on his Talking About Politics blog. He says in a post entitled “Pass McCroryCare” that Democrats should lobby the President to accept whatever waiver the Governor seeks to expand ObamaCare so long as it’s not “onerous”.

Pearce advises “That would present House and Senate leaders with a bipartisan plan. Pass it, and they look reasonable. Kill it, and they start this session just like the last one. McCrory, in contrast, would be doing some deft triangulation that plays well for him in 2016.”

Now let’s interpret. Triangulation is the old Bill Clinton /Dick Morris tactic of splitting everything down the middle. If Republicans want a tax cut and a reduction in the rate of growth in entitlement spending, the compromise might be a tax cut now, a new little entitlement spending hike now offset by a huge entitlement cut tomorrow. Everyone can claim victory for today and, of course, the cuts for tomorrow never happen.

Decades of splitting the difference is the reason the debt keeps rising.

Medicaid expansion is about giving able bodied people a benefit today and worrying about the cost tomorrow. Mr. Pearce addresses the cost by saying there really is no cost because the uninsured who would get free Medicaid are already getting uncompensated care the cost of which is passed onto the rest of us.

Specifically, Pearce writes “McCrory’s idea is apparently to tie Medicaid expansion to some kind of work requirement. Democrats would want to know if that’s unreasonable or onerous. But if they can work out something with McCrory, both he and they come out ahead – as will half a million North Carolinians who need health insurance and millions more of us who are paying their bills now.”

So Mr. Pearce essentially says what cost.

Here’s a number check. According to liberal group Families USA, the uninsured’s uncompensated costs $42 billion a year.

Medicaid expansion costs twice that so somebody’s making money somewhere.

As to the work requirement, read it carefully. The Obama Administration accepted a Pennsylvania plan for a voluntary job training requirement for able bodied people getting Medicaid expansion. Voluntary. In other words, get your free benefits and go to class, but don’t worry if you don’t want to go because you don’t have to.

Mandatory work was also denied in Utah.

So what is the bottom of Gary Pearce joining the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion debate? Simple. Republicans can’t out spin spin masters like Mr. Pearce and shouldn’t try. Instead, take a principled position. No more free benefits for able bodied adults.