By Kristina Ribali | The Foundation for Government Accountability
A study conducted by the Associated Press shows that states that refuse to participate in Medicaid expansion have stronger economies and reduced dependency on entitlement programs among able-bodied adults.
The study was conducted to highlight the ease in which applicants for Medicaid can also apply for other welfare benefits. However, buried deep in the article, the Associated Press admits the following:
Sixteen states, most led by Republican opponents of the health program, are rejecting the Medicaid expansion. In almost every state refusing to expand Medicaid, food-stamp enrollments have been going down with the improving economy.
Among the states with growing food-stamp use, many made efforts to improve Medicaid and food-stamp enrollment systems, using health-law funding for call centers, document imaging, electronic data matching and other tools, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. [emphasis added]
Twenty nine states have decided to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare, and in those states they’re making it even easier to enroll folks into programs for which they may not have thought themselves eligible.
Even the AP, however, can’t help but to worry about the expanded costs to individual states who are seeing a sharp increase in enrollment in entitlement programs. As the report states, “The enrollment is climbing as Republicans try to cut the costs of the food program and at a time when food-stamp usage would normally be expected to decline. Eligibility rules have not changed.”
The important point from the article is this:
“With the economy improving, national food-stamp enrollment declined in 2013 and 2014. But in 11 states, demand rose between January 2013 and the end of 2014, the AP analysis showed.
Ten of those states expanded their Medicaid programs under the health law. Florida did not expand Medicaid but led the nation in health law enrollment in private insurance plans.”
Lack of work requirements for food stamps, in part, has led to an additional 31 million Americans on SNAP since 2004. And while access is a big buzzword among those who want to expand the welfare state, it really boils down to expanding benefits to able bodied adults who would be better served by being placed back in the workforce.
Productive, well-paying work is the pathway out of lifetime dependence on the welfare state. But in states that are fully engaged in ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we’re seeing millions of Americans become trapped.
Kristina Ribali is the senior coalitions director for The Foundation for Government Accountability.