Michigan is on the verge of adding another long-term entitlement obligation onto the backs of our taxpayers – Medicaid Expansion. Incredulously, proponents of Medicaid Expansion claim that an increase of over $1.5B in government spending will actually “save” us money. How can this be so? Simple. They claim that we will be spending “federal” money not “state” money. The last time that I checked, both “federal” and “state” money come from the same source – taxpayers.
Despite being only one of the provisions buried within the 2,409 pages of statute and almost 20,000 pages of regulations known as Obamacare, the Medicaid Expansion provision is one of the most significant. It is the path to a single payer system controlled by the federal government that will be devoid of free market pressures to drive down price and improve the quality of care for our citizens.
The stepping stone on this path to the implementation of a single payer system that was passed by the Michigan House of Representatives is known as HB 4714. I remain stridently opposed to this legislation because it:
1. Expands an already unsustainable Medicaid program
2. Encourages poor quality care through managed care
3. Raises the cost of healthcare for many to subsidize lower cost healthcare for some
4. Increases government spending
5. Increases the debt risk for future generations
6. Promotes uncertainty in Michigan’s healthcare market as its parent legislation, Obamacare, suffers from so many implementation delays that Democrat Senators Max Baucus and Harry Reid have referred to it as a “train wreck”
7. Discourages job growth as expenses and uncertainty increase
8. Simply converts uncompensated care in hospitals to undercompensated care
9. Promotes current third party payment model with minimal price transparency
10. Promotes expanded control over “we the people” rather than returning control of healthcare decisions to patients and their doctors
The most significant reason that I remain stridently opposed to HB 4714 is very simple, though. We have a better option. That option is the Patient-Centered Care Act that I have introduced as Senate Bills 459 and 460.
If our true objectives of healthcare reform are to lower the cost of healthcare, improve the quality of care, expand access to quality care for those who can’t currently afford it, and protect consumer choice, an increasing number of my colleagues and citizens-at-large would point to the Patient-Centered Care Act as the best option.
This free market-driven option goes beyond reducing both federal and state government spending. It also provides better quality care to the most vulnerable members of society. Plus, the benefits of this free market system would extend to all 10,000,000 Michigan residents not simply the 400,000 who would benefit under HB 4714. On the basis of the merits of this alternative to Medicaid Expansion, Avik Roy, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute of Policy Research, made the following observation: “(Michigan) will be ground zero in a free market revolution in healthcare”.
Prior to the availability of this solution, Republicans have been justifiably criticized for not providing a viable alternative to Obamacare. We need to go beyond simply saying “No” and demonstrate through innovation how the free market can best achieve the stated objectives of healthcare reform. The Patient-Centered Care Act does just that. More information on this solution can be found at www.senatorpatrickcolbeck.com.