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Principles are expensive: Republican governors missing out on billions in Medicaid funds

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Among the emotions, pride is one of the most expensive. This is the lesson being shared following a report from New York University that says states which are refusing Medicaid expansion are losing billions of dollars.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of New York University, states that are refusing to expand Medicaid are losing billions of dollars. All those states are led by Republican governors and in every case they have stated that they are refusing the expansion based on principle.

Principles can be expensive.

Georgia is out $4.9 billion
Florida is out $5 billion
Texas is out $9.2 billion

So far, 20 states have opted out and several more remain undecided.

In the short term, the federal government has promised to pay all costs associated with Medicaid expansion for the first three years. Later, states will be expected to pick up a share of the tab. Currently the federal government covers an average of 57 percent of the cost of Medicaid for patients.

Initially Obamacare required states to expend the program to every person under 138 percent of the federal poverty level. A subsequent Supreme Court challenge gutted that requirement, allowing states to opt out. As many as half may do so.

Although these state governors may seem ludicrous for passing up billions of federal dollars, their logic isn't flawed. Money isn't free and it isn't printed at whim. Money is taken from taxpayers, citizens in each state, and distributed by the federal government to fund and encourage participation in specific programs. States, like individuals, can become addicted to the federal dollar.

Moreover, when government funds run low, federal officials simply borrow against the future by raising debt ceilings and deficit spending. This money will someday have to be repaid.

So when state governors refuse the short-term largesse, they are effectively refusing long term debt. Debt that neither the federal government, nor the state must pay, but you, as a taxpayer will be obliged to cover.

These governors are looking out for the interests of their citizens. It's not a bad principle.

The Catholic Church has been quite clear on the healthcare issue. All people should be entitled to a basic standard of dignified healthcare, no matter what. Unfortunately, Obamacare and policies which ensure rampant, unaccountable deficit spending by the current administration do little to ensure people will actually get quality care at an affordable rate.

The situation before Obamacare was not what the Church wanted to see. Unfortunately, Obamacare isn't what it wants to see either, especially with so many morally objectionable practices woven into its fabric. Hopefully, what comes next, be it in the form of individual state programs or a federal program will be better suited for our nation, both fiscally and morally.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

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