Betsy McCaughey | States fall for Medicaid trap

The invitation has enticed even conservative governors like John Kasich of Ohio and Jan Brewer of Arizona, an outspoken critic of President Obama and his health plan. Last week, both governors announced they will participate in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Brewer said it would “inject $2 billion” into the state’s economy.

Not all governors are hurrying to the party. Ten have refused and another 20 are reserving decision.

States that accede to the Obamacare offer will no longer set eligibility rules based on what state budgets can handle. The federal government will call the shots. Packing the Medicaid rolls is the new health law’s primary way of dealing with the uninsured, and it would expand Medicaid by an astounding 42 percent in Florida if Gov. Rick Scott (still undecided) goes along.

Last summer, a bipartisan State Budget Crisis Task Force, chaired by former New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, warned states not to go along with Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Every deficit-reduction plan being discussed in Washington includes abandoning that 9-to-1 match soon, the task force warned. States that expanded Medicaid to comply with the Obama health law would be plunged into fiscal disaster. Medicaid is already consuming a third or more of many state budgets.


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