On the call:
Robert Alt | President, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
Ed Haislmaier | Senior Health Care Advisor, National Federation of Independent Business
April 4, 2014
Hello everyone and thank you for joining me. I’m Jonathan Ingram, the Director of Research at the Foundation for Government Accountability. FGA builds paths to better lives by equipping state leaders with proven strategies to reform their failed health and welfare programs, all across America. We do this by working with you to develop, promote and help implement these solutions in your state. I want to thank all of our policymakers in the 16 states who are participating on the call today. During the last portion of the call if you’d like to ask our guests a question just press *6 when I make the announcement and that will get you into the question queue. We’ll also be asking some of the pre-submitted questions that many of you have already sent us, through our registration page.
Americans for Prosperity-Maine and the Foundation for Government Accountability commissioned a poll of 581 likely voters in the State of Maine between Tuesday, March 11 and Monday, March 24. Likely voters were defined as having participated in three or more of the last four statewide elections and were randomly selected for participation from a database of registered voters. The poll was conducted using interactive voice response (IVR) automated telephone calls and has a margin of error of 4.1%.
The poll was conducted by the public affairs consultant Action Point Campaigns, which subcontracted for the polling services with CMS, Inc., an Arlington, Virginia-based firm. A random sample of likely voters was polled, with “likely voter” status being assigned to those voters with high participation rates in the past several general elections.
Jonathan Ingram | Director of Research, Foundation for Government Accountability
Dr. Robert Graboyes | Senior Health Care Advisor, National Federation of Independent Business
March 14, 2014
Hello, everyone. I’m Jonathan Bechtle, the COO and the general counsel of the Foundation for Government Accountability. I want to welcome all of you to today’s call. The FGA builds paths to better lives by equipping leaders with proven strategies to reform health and welfare programs in states all across America. Many of you are our partners in this. We certainly look forward to continuing to work with you to develop, promote and implement solution to these tough problems in the states.
I want to thank all of you for taking the time to join us today. We have people from twenty different states all across the country. I especially want to thank our co-sponsors of this call at the Galen Institute, Institute for Policy Innovation, the Mercatus Center and the State Policy Network. We appreciate very much their helping us spread the word about this important topic and the call today.
ObamaCare compels lawmakers throughout the states to decide whether or not to expand their Medicaid programs to enroll individuals earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)—mostly working-age, able-bodied adults without children.
Medicaid funding already consumes large portions of every state’s budget, ObamaCare’s outcomes to date have been disappointing—if not dangerous—and the law’s implementation has been sloppy at best. Recognizing this, lawmakers are right to seek out information and expertise to help inform their decision of whether or not their state’s Medicaid program should expand.
ObamaCare supporters point to a pair of studies published by Jackson Hewitt, a tax preparation company, as evidence lawmakers should expand their state’s Medicaid program. The authors of those studies argue that failing to implement ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion would be disastrous to a state’s business community because of the severe employer penalties ObamaCare would impose on businesses in states that do not expand.
In its June 2012 decision to uphold the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, the U.S. Supreme Court also held that states were not required to implement an expansion of Medicaid, which the law initially mandated. This leaves Montana policymakers with a choice; accept federal funding to expand Montana Medicaid to cover able-bodied, working-age adults with no children or reject ObamaCare’s optional Medicaid expansion. The wisest course is for Montana to reject the Medicaid expansion for the following eight reasons:
1. ABLE-BODIED CHILDLESS ADULTS HAVE NEVER BEEN—AND WERE NEVER INTENDED TO BE—ELIGIBLE FOR TAXPAYER-FUNDED MEDICAID.
Medicaid was created to be a health care safety net for the most vulnerable: the elderly, individuals who are blind or disabled and low-income families. A recent poll found that 77 percent of Americans oppose providing Medicaid for working-age adults without kids.
The Foundation for Government Accountability commissioned a poll executed by Action Point Campaigns of 469 likely voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia between March 7, 2014 and March 9 2014. Likely voters were defined as having participated in three or more of the last four statewide elections and were randomly selected for participation from a database of registered voters. The poll was conducted using interactive voice response (IVR) automated telephone calls and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
ObamaCare advocates repeatedly promise that Medicaid expansion is fully funded by the federal government, at least through 2016. Advocates repeated this promise for the Arkansas “Private Option” Medicaid expansion, which sought to use Medicaid funding to deliver Medicaid benefits to a new class of working-age, able-bodied adults through private ObamaCare exchange plans.
But under terms of the Private Option federal waiver signed by Governor Beebe, state taxpayers could soon be on the hook for any cost overruns. The special terms and conditions of the Private Option waiver feature monthly per-person caps on federal spending for each of the next three years.1 A common feature of Medicaid waivers, these caps are meant to protect the federal taxpayer if the Private Option ends up being more expensive than previously estimated.
Under the terms of the waiver, the state taxpayer is responsible for all costs which exceed these per-enrollee caps. At the end of the waiver period, the federal government will calculate how much Arkansas spent on the Private Option Medicaid expansion and compare it to the annual budget caps agreed to in the waiver. Any amounts over those caps must then be repaid to the federal government from state tax dollars.
Medicare is under attack. Created to provide seniors with basic protections as they encounter medical issues during their golden years, Medicare seniors are yet another victim of the federal Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and the Washington takeover of health care.
The federal government has made $37 trillion worth of benefit promises to seniors. The Medicare Advantage program in particular has given millions of seniors a choice of several private insurance plans that offer comprehensive benefits, better access to doctors and often lower out-of-pocket costs for health care. ObamaCare’s severe cuts to Medicare have sent a clear message to our nation’s seniors: your health is not worth protecting. Millions of seniors will lose the Medicare benefits they depend on in order to live a longer, healthier life.
Thank you for joining us on today’s call. I’m Jonathan Bechtle, the COO and General Counsel of the Foundation for Government Accountability.
FGA builds paths to a better life by equipping leaders with proven strategies to reform failed health and welfare programs in states all across the country. We do this by working with all of you to develop, promote, and help implement solutions in your state. If you’re interested in our Medicaid reform or our child welfare reform, I encourage you to take a look at our websites: MedicaidCure.org and RightForKids.org.
Today we’re going to be talking about Medicaid expansion and it’s affect on senior citizens. FGA Senior Fellow, Josh Archambault, has taken a close look at the huge cuts to Medicare, and particularly Medicare Advantage, that fund ObamaCare’s massive Medicaid expansion for childless adults. Josh hails from Boston, where he has served as the Director of the Center for Healthcare Solutions at the Pioneer Institute. He’s been a Legislative Director in the Massachusetts State Senate, and a Senior Aide to former Governor Mitt Romney. Josh, welcome to the call.
On the call: Chris Conover | Adjunct Scholar, American Enterprise Institute Avik Roy | Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute **Due to a technical malfunction, the beginning of this conference call did not record. Audio begins during Chris Conver’s response to this question: “In layman’s terms, can you talk about where the “Medicaid expansion saves lives” numbers come from, and whether they’re accurate?” Chris Conover …avoidable deaths each year among low-income Americans who remain uninsured. The apparent precision of these predicted numbers makes this study sound far more scientifically accurate and valid than it really was. The higher figures are based on a study that compared three states that substantially expanded adult Medicaid eligibility since 2000; New York, Maine, and Arizona; with neighboring states that didn’t do an expansion. So, this Health Affairs study simply took the average results from all three states and extrapolated them to the entire nation without telling you that in the original study on which this was based, only one state, New York, actually demonstrated a statistically significant decline in mortality attributable to Medicaid. This is equivalent to a doctor telling you that the blue pill will reduce your risk of death even though two out of three patients in the clinical trials of that drug showed no benefit whatsoever. It’s worse than that, since New York’s Medicaid program ranks #8 in the country according to Public Citizen. The states where Medicaid had no apparent effect on mortality ranked #13, Maine, and #24, Arizona. Thus, most states that have not expanded Medicaid are much more likely to get results like Maine’s and Arizona’s than New York’s. That is, their characteristics are more similar to the patients who didn’t benefit from the blue pill than […]