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Finding out what’s in it: States that agreed to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion are now discovering that it is bankrupting them.
[T] he budget scuffle [in Arkansas over the expansion] has highlighted the harsh fiscal reality emerging in the Obamacare Medicaid-expansion program — and these lawmakers will have to own it. Beginning next year, Arkansas is obligated to share 5 percent of the program’s cost. Doing this would account for a whopping 60 percent of the year-over-year growth in the state’s budget. With a 10 percent state match on the horizon — coupled with the program’s over-enrollment, cost overruns, and waste, fraud, and abuse — Medicaid expansion will devour Arkansas’s budget over the next ten years.
The budget picture is similarly bleak in other states that took the plunge. Only 18 months into Ohio’s expansion, the state’s total Medicaid costs nearly doubled, to $4.05 billion. By next year, Buckeye taxpayers will be on the hook for over $130 million to meet the 5 percent state match, more than double the projected $55.5 million.
The worst part of this story however is that voters in Arkansas clearly indicated in elections that they wanted the expansion to end. Despite this, the governor (a Republican) and elected officials are still maneuvering to maintain the expansion. Like Congress after 2010 and 2014, landslide victories by conservatives seem to have no meaning to these people.