The ND House is set to vote later today on an expansion of North Dakota’s Medicaid program as called for by Obamacare. It’s a huge expansion, a 45% increase in the number of people enrolled, and neither the state nor the federal government can afford it.
But it’s also corporate welfare as I point out in my newspaper column this week:
The business community is very much interested in this expansion. You’ll notice the Chamber of Commerce is backing the expansion, and that’s because businesses take a short term hit if the state doesn’t expand Medicaid. Under Obamacare, businesses meeting certain criteria must provide health insurance for full time employees, those working 30 hours a week or more, or else they pay a fine. But if those employees can be covered by Medicaid, the businesses can safely push that expense off on the taxpayers.
We can be sympathetic about the position businesses find themselves in, but that’s an argument for repealing, or at the very least reforming, Obamacare. Not saddling taxpayers with the responsibility to provide health insurance to tens of thousands of additional enrollees in the state.
Let’s hope the House kills the Medicaid expansion, though even if they do the odds that it may come back up later in the session are pretty good. But it’s a bad idea. It’s bad spending policy. It’s bad business policy. It’s bad health care policy.