Some good news came out of the campaign trail last week in the gubernatorial race in North Carolina. Last Wednesday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory stated that if elected, he will join with his Republican counterparts in governor’s mansions across the country who have indicated that they will not go along with the fiscally reckless Medicaid expansion mandated by Obamacare. McCrory’s statement allies him with prominent conservative governors such as Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and others.
Nationwide, Medicaid costs are growing at an unsustainable rate, with taxpayers as always being on the hook for covering the soaring tab. According to a study by the John Locke Foundation, total federal and state Medicaid spending has ballooned from $70 billion in 1990 to approximately $400 billion today- -a budget busting 571 percent increase.
Yet, instead of reforming Medicaid in a way that takes this program off the path to insolvency, Obamacare proposes that states expand the Medicaid program by adding individuals to the rolls, sans any effort to reduce costs.
Perhaps Gov. Perry of Texas put it best when he said that the Medicaid expansion mandated by Obamacare would not be unlike “adding one thousand people to the Titanic”. Except in the case of North Carolina, it would not be one thousand people, but 600,000. According to the John Locke study, this would cost taxpayers in the state an annual rate of $4 billion dollars.
Medicaid spending in North Carolina is already increasing twenty times faster than state spending on education and ten times faster than state spending on transportation. In total, Medicaid represents nearly a quarter of state spending, having risen from just around 10 percent as recently as the early 1990’s. At this rate, health care costs will result in a budget squeeze that diverts resources from priorities, such as education.
Faced with these facts, Pat McCrory’s decision to reject Obamacare mandated Medicaid expansion was both courageous and fiscally prudent, putting the interests of North Carolinians above the politics of giving more individuals a government handout.
As outlined above, Medicaid is on an untenable trajectory, and we applaud the decision of Republican governors who have indicated they would opt out of this unconscionable explosion of entitlement spending.